The Daily Telegraph, June 24, Robert Tombs
As Yevgeny Prigozhin astonished the world by calling off his march on Moscow, Vladimir Putin, it seems, has narrowly avoided his 1917 moment. Russia has had a varied experience of coups and mutinies, from palace revolutions in the 18th century, an abortive mutiny in 1825 by liberal army officers who had tasted freedom in the West fighting Napoleon and, most importantly, in 1917, when the army high command told Nicholas II that his time was up.
Putin’s hope will be that Prigozhin’s bizarre about-turn means that this becomes perhaps the shortest-lived major mutiny in Russia’s long history.
It would be a grave mistake to believe that Putin is out of the woods. He stands gravely weakened.
In the simplest terms, mutineers tend to end up dead, although Prigozhin believes that he will survive to win another day. One thing that Russian armies under various regimes seem to have in common is the brutality with which their men are treated, the brutality with which they behave in response, and their lack of loyalty to their superiors.
These events merely remind us that nothing ever changes in Russia.
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