Where’s Vladimir Putin?

Where’s Waldo? Oh wait… Where’s Putin I meant!

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin has been missing in action for a few days now. Many rumors are spreading around as the big RUMINT machine has been started.

  • He is dead;
  • He is in Switzerland for the birth is his children;
  • He is sick;
  • He is currently working from his house on the outskirts of Moscow;
  • He is being replaced by Russian Armed Forces generals and FSB operatives.

These rumors are spreading like a wildfire. Even Twitter has seen new hashtags such as #WhereisPutin or #Putinisdead.

Having said that, I do believe Vladimir Putin is not in danger nor sick. However, there is a possibility he has been busy finding solutions to keep his oligarchs in line, especially with the current sanctions imposed on them and the fall of the Russian Ruble.

President Putin is most likely applying a lot of political pressure to his Ministers to figure out a solution to his problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia take steps towards quickly annexing South Ossetia and making bold moves in support of North Korea to relieve some pressure.

We could also see Putin coming out in the next few days with an explanation such as “taking time for himself to work on a solution to counter the current international pressure on Russia.”

Nevertheless, I also believe Putin will come out with a strong military plan and infrastructure investments to counter the fall of the Ruble.

Of course, these are all suppositions and I might be completely off the track. However, there is a good possibility that Putin will emerge stronger and we could witness a big change on his entourage.

Let now forget that President Putin’s strategy for his oligarchs is a system of threats and big financial rewards. That strategy has gave him the upper hand when dealing with them.

Putin victim of a coup?

There is a small possibility that Putin is currently going through a coup against him, subsequently making him disappear until the new “government” is ready to assume control and publicly announced their successful coup. In fact, Israel’s former ambassador to Russia told Haaretz that there are signs of a coup in Russia.

He explains that the augmentation of Russian Armed Forces in the capital could confirm the military is involved in the coup as well as other agencies. If that is the case, the FSB is likely to have a part in the move against Putin–mostly through ex-KBG agents that holds senior positions within the Federal Security Service.

Putin’s oligarchs could be behind the coup as well. As I stated higher, the fall of the Rubble and the very costly Western sanctions are truly hurting their wealth. Aided by Russian Armed Forces general who are eager to amass a fortune, the coup could very well end in a blood bath and a Russian civil war.

Yet, if a coup was really happening in Russia, many internal sources would’ve been spreading the news in different agencies. As a matter of fact, spreading the news of a coup could end up helping, by having the Russian population supporting it.

The current geopolitical issues and international relations of Russia are definitely on top of the world security list. Nonetheless, the current Russian Federation without Vladimir Putin could become way more dangerous. A Russia ran by generals and FSB operatives would mean a much more aggressive stance towards the West thus making a nuclear war possible. It is always easier to understand a leader that has been around for a while than to have a whole new leadership in such a time of crisis.

I will keep you updated when more news are made publicly available.

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Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.