The former leader of the Wagner mercenary army, Yevgeny Prigozhein, criticized Russian Defense Minister Shoigu as an incompetent who concocted a pretext for the invasion of Ukraine for his aggrandizement. Within hours of this criticism, the Wagner camp was bombed by Shoigu.

Prigozhein responded with a march toward Moscow to rid the government of Shoigu. Before reaching Moscow, he called off the march.

Short-Lived Revolt: Long-Term Consequences

Putin’s two-decade hold on power, already bruised by the Ukraine war which has claimed huge numbers of Russian troops, suffered another blow with the Wagner group mutiny.

Prigozhein and his second-in-command were on a private plane when Russian anti-aircraft missiles shot it down.

Putin Is Not Safe

Ukrainian drone strikes are bringing the war home to Russians. Drone strikes inside Russia, once considered impossible, have become common. Drone strikes have peppered Russian cities, including Moscow, throughout the summer.

Popular support for the war has dropped as the war has moved from a distant event to their backyard.

As some of Putin’s closest aides have turned on him, there is a massive amount of jockeying behind the scenes in Russian politics.

Russia Holds Nuclear Drills

In early October, Russia held a nationwide drill rehearsing the evacuation of citizens to nuclear bunkers in the event of a nuclear strike.

It was the first time in Russian history that such a drill was held simultaneously across the five time zones spanned by the Russian Federation.

Insiders close to Putin are telling him to drop a nuke to get Americans to back off Ukraine. The Russian elite is reaching a consensus that nuclear weapons should be deployed.

Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world with 1,500 nuclear weapons and 6,000 warheads.


Putin had expected a decisive win in Ukraine within days of the February 2022 invasion. What he has gotten is a brutal mess.

James Olson, a decorated former chief of counterintelligence, who spent 30 years with the CIA, says Putin will probably be taken out by Russian military officers who are fed up with the war.

Photo by Edoardo Baraldi



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