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‘Palace coup’: Putin’s days are numbered

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Michael_Novakhov
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from news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site.

A former veteran chief of American’s Central Intelligence Agency has declared Vladimir Putin’s days are numbered, predicting the Russian president will be overthrown in a ‘Black Swan’ palace coup.

And the ousting of one of modern history’s most divisive and ruthless leaders is only a matter of time.

Jack Devine served for three decades with the US spy agency and told The Sun newspaper in an exclusive interview that he wouldn’t be surprised if Putin “disappeared tomorrow”.

Speculation about the future of Russia’s leadership has been festering for some time, with the country’s bruising performance in its war with Ukraine intensifying talk.

So too have endless reports about Putin’s ill health, with rumours emerging from inside the Kremlin that he has at various points been close to death.

Then he faced an armed uprising led by war lord Yevgeny Prigozhin, who rallied his Wagner Group mercenaries in a bizarre and short-lived plot.

Prigozhin died for his disloyalty.

But Devine, 83, who led thousands of spies on covert and classified missions across the globe for 32 years, believes Putin’s demise will be at the hands of those closest to him.

“Putin could disappear tomorrow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some element in the government had decided they were going to take executive action,” Devine told The Sun.

Devine believes Putin has becoming increasingly unpredictable and dangerous – and his invasion of Ukraine has “sowed his political demise”.

The Russian president is continuing to throw his troops into meat-grinder assaults to try to secure a winter victory.

The devastated city of Avdiivka – the gateway to the major city of Donetsk that lies 12 miles to the east – has become the deadliest flashpoint of the war as Putin attempts to break a painful stalemate.

Devine believes the tyrant’s popularity will continue to drop as the war goes on – but it won’t stop his gruesome grind.

The Russian leader will plough on with his fight “no matter what it takes”, Devine said.

“The more losses and the more violence that is visible to the Russian citizens, the less people want to be involved,” he explained.

“He will have a hard time recruiting, but it is Russia after all. He will find a way to strong arm, entice.

“He will come up with the army at the end of the day, but the war will become increasingly less popular.”

The “standstill” in Ukraine will likely see Putin toppled in a ‘Black Swan’ palace coup, particularly if it looks as though Russia’s efforts are resulting in a “permanent stalemate”.

“It’ll be a surprise. There’s always what we call a ‘Black Swan’ that appears from nowhere.

“But failing a ‘Black Swan’ I believe his troubles begin when there’s a stalemate and that’s right now. I don’t think it’ll be an uprising. I think it’ll be a what we might call a palace coup.”

A growing number of military analysts agree Putin’s power cannot last much longer and the end of his reign is near, whether by coup, assassination, regime collapse or his failing health.

Devine said Putin’s behaviour in recent times suggests the president has become increasingly unpredictable and dangerous, and he likely realises that he has “sowed his political demise” with the Ukraine war.

Russia continues to send countless troops into battle, facing severe casualties and embarrassing military defeats.

As the war goes on and the country’s humiliation worsens, Devine believes Putin’s popularity will tank.

“The more losses and the more violence that is visible to the Russian citizens, the less people want to be involved,” he explained.

“He will have a hard time recruiting, but it is Russia after all. He will find a way to strong arm, entice. He will come up with the army at the end of the day, but the war will become increasingly less popular.”

Ukraine remains determined to defeat Russia’s attempts at invasion and continues to rally strong support from the West.

On top of that, the European Union’s efforts to sign up Ukraine, which would offer it NATO protection, represent a significant strategic loss for Putin.

Devine fears it’s not going to “get any better” any time soon, with both sides unwilling to flinch despite the mounting costs.

“The Ukrainians aren’t going to give them territory. Putin’s not going to withdraw.

“But you can take the temperature down. They have to wind down, when everybody realises there’s no hope for Putin to win.

“He’s not going to lose in the technical sense. He’s not going to be driven back into Russia. Anybody waiting for that has false hopes.

“But I don’t think it’s too far off. I think next year we’ll see almost a permanent stalemate.”

Whatever happens to Putin, Devine said the person who replaces him is unlikely to be dramatically different.

And that makes keeping an eye on the so-called ‘Axis of Evil’ of China, Iran and Russia even more important.

“They are trying to pull their allies into an alliance and an axis,” he said.

“And I think we can see it being demonstrated with the Hamas attack in Israel and how Russia is playing that.

“The expansionist abilities of Putin are psychological and political right now, and I think it’s in the non-European world where he’s making some progress.”


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