Putin’s greatest fear is the FSB refusing to fire on the Russian people, Golts says

Soldiers of the National Guard of Russia (aka Russian Guard), a 500,000-strong internal security structure subordinated to Putin personally

Soldiers of the National Guard of Russia (aka Russian Guard), a 500,000-strong internal security structure subordinated to Putin personally 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

Aleksandr Golts, a Moscow specialist on military affairs and the deputy chief editor of Yezhednevny zhurnal, says that Vladimir Putin’s greatest fear is that the FSB will refuse to open fire on Russians who may seek to overthrow his rule and thus he has created the Russian Guard as a last line of defense.

But that organization despite its size – 400,000 men – and leadership – its commander is Putin’s former bodyguard may prove an unreliable force because while the order to fire may come down from the top, mid-level and junior-level officers may ultimately refuse to carry it out.

In an interview given to Galina Ostapovets of Kyiv’s Delovaya stolitsa, Golts says that Putin is not afraid of a war with NATO. Instead, “Putin’s paranoia consists of the fact that he supposes that the West and NATO may at some moment organize a ‘color’ revolution in Russia” and that he will be ousted from power.

One must understand, the military analyst says, that “people who have usurped power never say to themselves that they have usurped power. They tell themselves that the Russian people is special, with a very difficult fate, and its simply not ready for democracy.” Hence the need for “administered democracy.”

Even more to the point, Golts continues, “the experience of 1991 hangs over Putin, when Soviet paratroopers having held conversations with the KGB special forces replied that ‘no, we will not shoot’” at the population. That fear explains why the Kremlin leader created the National Guard which he believes will “fulfill any order.”

But the reality is that when “a critical situation arises,” it won’t be his old bodyguard who “comes running with a pistol. Decisions will be taken by specific individuals,” Golts continues. “When the order comes to open fire, this means that inside the country the situation has become critical.”

In such a situation, Putin and Zolotov, the commander of the Russian Guard, may give orders, but no one can know in advance whether it will be obeyed.

“Everything depends on the specific situation and on the level of motivation of these people. In 1991, the forces refused to shoot, but in 1993, they did.”

Golts made a number of other noteworthy observations during his interview. The five most significant are the following:

  1. Russia and NATO have entered a new cold war as a result of Russian aggression in Ukraine, and an arms race has begun as well. Both are certain to last a long time. NATO has already proven its worth by putting forces in the Baltic countries and Poland. After the Western alliance did that, Putin stopped talking about his “Novorossiya” project.
  2. Putin has not and indeed cannot choose a successor. The system he has established precludes that. He is the only one who holds things together. “If he disappears, chaos will ensue.” Thus those around him will work to ensure he doesn’t disappear. When he finally exits the scene, “he will leave chaos behind.”
  3. “Putin is not the chief problem. Yes, he is a manipulator, but to a much greater degree he is an expression of the prejudices and misconceptions of the Russian people which still hasn’t digested the disintegration of the Soviet Union.” When Putin does leave, it is far less likely that any democrat will take over than someone who will “play on these prejudices” and move Russia “further along the path of oligarchy and authoritarianism.
  4. The Arctic region is going to be the site of intense competition military and otherwise between Russia and the US.
  5. Once Moscow and Washington do return to conversations, among the first subjects they must address is cyberwar, something few understand and no one yet knows how to counter.

Related:

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Ihor Dawydiak

    An elaboration would be in order as to why Putin stopped talking about his “Novorossiya project” (the military occupation and forced incorporation into Russia of Eastern Ukraine, Southern Ukraine and the breakaway Moldovan Region of Transdnistria). It was by no means limited to NATO’s placing of forces into the Baltic States and Poland. When Putin devised his sordid plan, he did not seriously take into account the following facts: 1) He would require anywhere up to a million soldiers to conduct this operation thereby straining the Russian Armed Forces in many other critical areas, 2) He may not have been aware as to the extent that the vast majority of Ukrainian citizens (including the areas to be occupied) were totally alienated from Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine (hence the catcalls from demonstrators in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv of “Putin Khuilo”), 3) This alienation would have almost certainly invited civic unrest, mass demonstrations and even sabotage against the invading Russian Army, 4) The Ukrainian Armed Forces would have almost certainly tried their best to at least slow down the Russian advance and by doing so the amount of casualties on both sides would have been horrendous. It would also have left Putin in a predicament as to how he could justify his massive military losses to his general public considering the fact that it was Putin who was the aggressor, 5) Even more stringent sanctions would have been leveled by the Western powers against Russia thereby driving Putin’s regime to the brink of bankruptcy and a much greater risk of a dreaded color revolution within Russia, 6) International condemnation, including that by the UN and possibly China and India, would have been a given which in turn would have turned Russia into an even greater international pariah, 7) The cost of the Russian occupation would have been incalculable and as the Russian economy was already in dire straits any prolonged stay in Ukraine would not have been sustainable, and, 8) Putin would have left himself very little if any room to maneuver without losing face once he was forced to withdraw from Ukraine. Finally, these facts in themselves would be more than enough reason to prevent Putin from carrying out another major or even catastrophic folly. The Russian adventure in Afghanistan was bad enough. Invading Ukraine to the extent that Russia’s Grand Pederast had earlier envisioned could have led to another Russian Revolution.

    • Quartermaster

      What Putin is doing in Ukraine and Moldova are unsustainable financially and militarily. Add in Syria, and Putin’s Russia is in serious trouble. I doubt Putin will be able to extract himself from Syria, and that situation is going to get worse for him, in spite of the fact that things appear to working for him at the moment. The middle east is a morass that will swallow Russia. Read Ezekial chapters 38 & 39.

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    Any time that any Government has tried to use its power by ordering its Army or any security apparatus to shoot, maim or kill its own people as a result of mass unrest, that Government or any similar Government that may follow have exponentially doomed themselves to oblivion. It happened with Yanukovych and his regime. It could also happen with Putin and his hyenas.

  • Vlad Pufagtinenko

    Putin’s FSB had no problem killing Ukrainian unarmed protesters on the Maidan, back in February 2014

  • veth

    Ukraine, the Netherlands to jointly investigate Boeing МН17 crash
    The agreement parties signed on Friday will take force after its ratification by countries’ parliaments

    21:03, 7 July 2017

    Justice Ministry of the Netherlands

    Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands Stef Blok and Ukraine’s Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko signed an agreement on international legal cooperation in investigation of Boeing МН17 crash. This was reported by the press service of the Dutch government.

    “Signing of this agreement is an important step in finding out the truth, prosecution of the suspects of the tragedy and calming the relatives of the deceased. We are grateful to Ukraine for cooperation and for concluding of this agreement, the Dutch minister said.”

    The agreement provides that prosecution of the suspects can be conducted on behalf of all 298 victims of the disaster.

    Bilateral also provides that prosecution will not only be against those responsible for the death of the Dutch people, but for the death of all 298 victims. The catastrophe took lives of citizens from 17 countries.

    Related: Ukraine’s MFA hails decision to hear Boeing МН17 case in the Netherlands
    At the same time, the agreement also provides for interviewing by the Netherlands of suspects involved in the disaster of Ukrainians via video communication, as well as the possibility of imprisonment. Separately, the importance of this moment is noted (of the imprisonment), as the Constitution of Ukraine does not allow the extradition of citizens.

    As it was reported earlier perpetrators of Boeing МН17 incident will be judged in the Netherlands. The decision does not mean that the offenders will be brought to trial in the near future.

  • Dirk Smith

    Let’s hope the trucker strikes evolve into Maidan Moscow.

  • zorbatheturk

    Internal repression and external aggression define the Putin regime. RuSSians aren’t ready for democracy? LOL. Neither are the Chinese, according to Beijing. Maybe they can start with small doses of it and work up.