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MORE Kremlinology NEW INSIGHTS...

maxparrish

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This recent article provides an interesting insight on Putin's latest behavior and messaging. Most of it is paraphrased, with a touch of my own observations on Putin's possible health problems...

1. Lack of cohesion in terminology.​

Three weeks ago, the Russian airwaves were filled with rantings pronouncing the coming Russian “victory” over “fascist” and “Nazi” Ukraine.
More recently the term now favored for Ukrainians is “neo-nationalists.”
Less scorn and rhetoric over whether Ukrainians are a “real” nation or not.
Demonization Declining?

2. Putin’s top advisers have vanished.​

Most nights, Putin is shown conferring with his advisers, who appear on a bank of TV monitors in front of him, none present.
Now no member of Russia’s National Security Council was shown on the bank of TV monitors. All are banished. Last Saturday was last time fresh footage appeared.

This includes Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who previously had been prominently featured on state TV. Shoigu has been absent for days, possibly being set up to be a scapegoat.

3. Putin is worried about the economy.​

First half of Putin’s speech was bellicose, but the whole of the second half was devoted to Russia’s economy. Putin took pains to promise financial support for Russian families, increased child allowances, and extra financial support for Russian businesses. In the place of his security advisers, Putin was shown with the heads of far-flung Russian regions such as Buryatia, Kaliningrad and Tatarstan all parts of Russia. hardships.

4. Russia is claiming that the Ukrainians have inflicted the worst damage on themselves.​

Russian state TV now alleging that Ukrainian forces in the southern city of Mariupol had bombed their own maternity hospital. They now also claim Ukrainian Neo-Nazis had bombed that city’s drama theater. State TV is trying to deflect blame for the benefit of Russia's domestic viewers. After all, Mariupol, with a pre-war population of 400,000, was at one time 85 percent Russian-speaking, a fact many Russians will know.

5. Putin is laying the groundwork for the use of biological or chemical weapons.​

In Wednesday speech, Putin repeatedly alleged that the West was using Ukraine to make and stockpile biological and chemical weapons — and even, potentially, nuclear weapons — for use against Russia. The increased emphasis on this in recent days usually signals that Russia itself intends to take these measures, shifting blame for such a step on the enemy instead of Russia. This may be his plan.

6. Putin is shifting the goal posts.​

Kyiv and the Ukrainian government are now rarely mentioned. Now Putin claims that Russia never had a plan to capture Kyiv. Sounding more like Hitler's ranting, there has been a renewed emphasis on the necessity of “liberating” the coal mining area broadly known as the Donbas and protecting annexed Crimea for Russian speakers. At another location he has promised at length to the annexed region more social support and road construction.

Putin's sudden focus Crimea is strange, since it supposedly is a solidly Russian area whose annexation, at least inside Russia, isn’t in question. Is Putin concerned that Russian speakers have not welcomed his army in southern Ukraine or of rumblings in Crimea?

Put has emphasized “neutrality” for Ukraine. "Taken together, these shifts may be a signal that Putin is no longer seeking to control all of Ukraine and could accept a settlement of the conflict that instead focuses on the status of Crimea and the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine." And the "broadcasts tend to mention ongoing peace discussions between Russian and Ukrainian officials also suggests that Putin hasn’t entirely given up on diplomacy."

Cont.
 

maxparrish

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Cont.

7. Putin doesn’t look well.​

"Many observers have noted that Putin looks puffy and unwell. On Wednesday there was an episode that also suggested that Putin is off his game — about 20 minutes into his speech, his language deteriorated into a ramble. He searched for words, repeating a term roughly similar to “you know.” It then became a diatribe, punctuated with uneasy pauses, even poor use of Russian, full of unnecessary conjunctions and jargon. The clip of Putin’s speech that was posted later on YouTube edited out this section of the broadcast.

To be sure, these are contradictory signals and messages coming from the Kremlin through the state news broadcasts. They are alternately reassuring and alarming: The optimist might be gratified by mention of peace talks and fewer uses of the term “Nazi”, but the pessimist is right to be alarmed that Putin appears to be more isolated than ever and making decisions on his own — even as he toys with his WMD.
But whether the viewer is an optimist or a pessimist, it is at least clear that things are changing inside the Kremlin, that Putin is anxious, that he’s changing tactics, and he’s preparing his domestic audience for those changes. To figure out whether that means more war or some kind of peace — stay tuned."


I believe this suggests that Putin is under much stress, isolated, distrustful, and very concerned over keeping the public behind him. He is also attempting to make escalation to WMD justified, if need be, but also suggesting an increased willingness to compromise on reasonable issues...neutrality now the core concern of Putin.

His speech and appearance suggest more than stress. Edema, the puffy swollen appearance, and his mental lapses may indicate impaired Kidney functioning, or some other kind of impaired organ functions. It could also be from medications for a serious health (or mental) condition.

Putin could be losing it.
 
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