Russia’s President Vladimir Putin relies on a handful of hard-line advisers, who tell him what he wants to hear about the Ukraine war, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Putin prefers to live in an echo chamber designed to feed him into miscalculations on Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“Mr. Putin expected the war in Ukraine to be swift, popular, and triumphant. For months, he struggled to come to terms with what instead became a costly quagmire, and found himself isolated and distrustful at the pinnacle of a power structure designed to reinforce his belligerent worldview and shelter him from discouraging news,” a former senior Russian intelligence officer told the Wall Street Journal.
Putin’s limited understanding of reality went to show during the battle for Lyman, a small city in Donetsk Oblast of eastern Ukraine that the Russian troops had to eventually retreat from in late September. One of the commanding officers on the frontline received a call over an encrypted line from Moscow. It was Vladimir Putin, ordering him not to retreat, the Wall Street Journal claims. Although the Russian forces in Lyman were being encircled by the rapid Ukrainian advance, Putin rebuffed the commands of his own generals and told the troops to hold the ground.
The Wall Street Journal based its article on interviews with current and former Russian officials close to the Kremlin who broadly described Putin’s failure to believe that Ukraine could successfully resist.
“The people around Putin protect themselves. They have this deep belief that they shouldn’t upset the president,” Ekaterina Vinokurova, a former member of human-rights council said.
Putin’s miscalculations have shaped Russia’s humiliating withdrawals in the northeast and south of Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal.