'He’s got a disaster on his hands': Expert says Putin could see Moscow fall within six months
In an interview with journalist Kara Swisher for the New York Times, Clint Watts, a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, claims Russian President Vladimir Putin has a growing disaster on his hands after invading Ukraine and it could lead to a collapse at home in Russia.
Watts, who served in the U.S Army and went on to be recruited by the FBI to assist in combating terrorism, claims the unpopularity of the war among Russian citizens will continue to grow and, combined with the sanctions that are already crippling the country's economy, may threaten his tenure as leader of Russia.
The former FBI official explained that Putin won't be able to disguise the war dead, which will continue to grow because the Ukrainians are putting up such a stiff resistance that Putin -- and his generals -- appear to have not anticipated.
"He’s got a disaster on his hands, for a couple reasons," Watts told Swisher. "Militarily, even if he is successful, he’s taking casualties. That will filter back home. You cannot disinformation your way out of 10,000 dead. It’s just not possible. And you’re going to have war-wounded. The mothers in Russia have always been the pushback against Putin during these conflicts. This is going to be next-level scale."
Pointing out that it is hard to occupy a country, the analyst suggested Putin will be unsuccessful at installing a compliant government that will be able to control the populace, meaning the Russians will need an unsustainable 800,000 soldiers to tamp down an insurgency that Watts predicts "won't go away."
Add to that, dissatisfaction over the collapsing economy and the crippling sanctions that are also afflicting Russian oligarchs could lead to Putin's downfall.
"This will not settle down at home," he stated before going into greater detail. "And for those that have had the open markets, the open economy, you know, more open economy, more open information space — when these things start trickling and shutting off, you’re going to see two things. One, those that can flee will. Who are those that flee? Those with money. And those that stay, there’s going to be fights and wars. And so my big worry is that we’re worried about Kyiv falling today. I’m worried about Moscow falling between day 30 and six months from now."
"He’s going to throw everything at the wall to try and convince Russians that things are going well, that the war was justified. And if he gets into trouble or the West really mounts a coordinated defense, he’s going to say, look, they’re doing it to us. I have to defend us. It’s defensive. It’s defensive. And will they buy that? I don’t know. I think it’s starting to break," he added.
You can listen to the podcast or read more here.
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