Most of Putin’s presidential administration secretly opposes the war in Ukraine but dare not tell him: report

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) appoints his press secretary Dmitry Pekov in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on November 9, 2022.

  • Most of Putin’s presidential administration opposes the war in Ukraine, the FT reports.
  • But there are few people willing to face him or resign since the war started.
  • Putin’s tendency to surround himself with yes-men has turned out to be a fatal flaw, according to the FT.

Many people who serve in President Vladimir Putin’s executive office privately oppose his war in Ukraine, but don’t say so openly, according to a new report.

Members of Russia’s presidential administration and economic cabinet have told friends they are opposed to the war, according to the Financial Times, whose report obtained the insight of several unnamed Putin confidants and former officials.

The presidential administration consists of top-level officials who serve as the executive office of the leader.

In the course of the war there was a steady trickle of reports indicating uneasiness among high-ranking Kremlin insiders, but this was one of the strongest yet.

“This is a unique war in the history of the world, when all the elites are against it,” a former senior official said, according to the FT.

Some officers have left. A high-ranking adviser, Anatoly Chubais, resigned from his post in March, while another unnamed former senior official left for private business and applied for an Israeli passport as part of an exit plan, the FT reported.

Another unnamed adviser confronted Putin directly about the war’s failures in October, as reported by The Washington Post, citing US intelligence.

People close to the president have told the FT that Putin’s fatal flaw is his weakness for loyalty – valuing it over competence.

“They should be honest with him and they are not,” a figure close to Putin told the paper. “The management system is a big problem. It creates big gaps in his knowledge and the quality of the information he gets is not good.”

Those who Putin trusts to help guide his decisions are a small group that is missing out. Even his own foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, made the mistake of announcing the war, only knowing about it hours before, the FT reports.

And while the war was failing, Putin tried to break out of his famous isolation by consulting, per the FT, hyper-nationalist bloggers, who are known for their relentless analysis of the country’s military development.

But these rumblings have done nothing to dissuade Putin from waging war, even as the predicted defeat in Ukraine turns into a year-long struggle with no end in sight.

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