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'Chessmaster myth shattered' Putin reeling as key aides and military chiefs abandon leader




Vladimir Putin describes the assassination attempts against him

John Ciorciari, associate professor of public policy and director of the Weiser Diplomacy Centre, told Putin has managed to “shatter the myth” around him, losing his infallibility as a “grand chess master”. He added Putin “appears quite isolated from his senior advisors and military leaders”, which is “a dangerous place to be” when waging a slow and torturous war effort.

Pictures have emerged of the Russian leader holding meetings in Moscow on one end of what body language expert Allan Pease called an “absurdly long table” for a “paranoid” Putin.

He added: “He’s a guy who is keeping everyone at a distance.”

But the sluggish progress of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has bred discontent within the state security service, the FSB, a source inside the agency has claimed this week.

They said the mounting pressure within the FSB threatened Putin’s decades-long leadership of the Kremlin.


Putin has been abandoned by his counsel of senior military officials and presidential advisors (Image: Getty)

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Putin may be isolated from his advisors, which could be ‘catastrophic’ for the leader (Image: Getty)

Professor Ciorciari contended that the way Putin has handled the invasion, “whether he is motivated by paranoia, illness, or simply a thirst for conquest, he has invited catastrophe for his people and possibly also for himself”.

Vladimir Osechkin, who is at the top of Russia’s most wanted list for his work on prison abuse scandals, said his source within the security service indicated resentment could reach boiling point any day now.

Reports have suggested Putin laid the blame for the incredibly slow pace of the invasion at the FSB’s door.

Mr Osechkin said: “For 20 years Putin created stability in Russia.

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table kremlin

Mounting pressure within the FSB threatened Putin’s decades-long leadership of the Kremlin (Image: Getty)

“FSB officers, policemen, state prosecutors — those people inside the system — were able to live good lives.”

This has changed with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mr Osechkin said.

He added: “For every week and every month that this war continues, the possibility of a rebellion by those in the security services increases.”

Mr Osechkin described how the lifestyle of FSB officers – historically more moneyed than the average Russian citizen’s – has suffered as the invasion drags on.

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Reports have suggested Putin laid the blame for the invasion’s slowness with the FSB (Image: Getty)

A number of FSB agents have been unable to travel to other homes or “take their kids to Disneyland Paris”, he added.

In conjunction with crippling Western sanctions on Russia, the value of the rouble has plunged and FSB agents don’t want to “go back to the Soviet Union”.

Mr Osechkin said the whistleblower went by the handle “wearenotallsadists” and first reached out in October 2021.

This follows reports that FSB chief and Putin confidant Alexander Bortnikov is being prepared to succeed Putin in an FSB-backed coup.


They alleged Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikov, who runs the Federal Security Service, would take over (Image: Getty)

In a social media post, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence claimed “Russia’s elite is considering removing Putin”, adding the provocative tagline of “poisoning, sudden illness, accident”.

The post claimed that a circle of “influential people” sought to “restore economic ties with the West” by removing Putin “from power as soon as possible”.

It added the war in Ukraine had “destroyed” these economic bonds crucial for Russia’s prosperity.

They alleged Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikov, who runs the Federal Security Service, would be the one who took the reins from Putin.

fsb hq

The FSB headquarters in Moscow (Image: Getty)

Putin himself is a former intelligence officer for the KGB, and rose to the head of the FSB, which was formed from the KGB.

The Ukrainian Chief Directorate of Intelligence added the president had blamed Bortnikov for “fatal miscalculations”.

They said: “Bortnikov and his department were responsible for analysing the mood of the population of Ukraine and the capacity of the Ukrainian army.”

Dr Adam Casey, of the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies at the University of Michigan, has said the chances of a coup taking down Vladimir Putin are much more likely than they were even a month ago.

However, he said it would be a tall order to topple Putin, as a coup is something he has spent years building a defence for.

He said: “The Russian military is not performing in the war in the way that most people expected, and it’s doing quite poorly overall.”

Dr Casey told Insider: “He’s spent a lot of time and effort designing the Russian security apparatus in a way that sort of makes him relatively invulnerable to coups.”

But, he added: “Things that have motivated coups in other places are present.”



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'This is huge' Swedish Air Force jet deployed over Belarus border in threat to Putin




The Scandinavian country is not a member of NATO, but could be ready to trade in its neutral status in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

News of Stockholm’s decision to send a jet was revealed by twitter user Jamming.

They wrote: “Swedish Air Force Korpen active over Poland border area with Belarus.

“Sweden part of surveillance of Belarus and Ukraine!!!

“This is a huge political statement! Update on SwAF Korpen.”


The Gulfstream IV aircraft was tracked taking off from Linking airport and then flying towards the city of Grodno in western Belarus.

It was flying at an altitude of just under 12,000 metres at a speed of 836 kilometres per hour.

Although Sweden is not a NATO member, it is an “enhanced opportunity partner” of the military alliance.

The government also signed a statement in 2018 pledging to strengthen its defence cooperation.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson rejected calls by opposition parties earlier this month for the country to join NATO.

She argued that such a move would further destabilise Europe.

Her statement came in the wake of threats from Moscow that NATO membership would bring “serious military-political consequences” for Sweden.

However, there is growing public support among Swedes for their country to join the transatlantic military alliance.

A poll conducted in late February by broadcaster SVT found that 41 percent of the public supported NATO membership, while thirty-five percent were against.

It was the first time an opinion study in Sweden had found more people in favour of the country joining NATO than were against it.



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Putin humiliated: Russia tries and fails to capture defiant Ukraine village for tenth time




Russia has tried and failed to capture the village of the Chornobaevka ten times, according to Ukrainian presidential adviser Aleksey Arestovich. Videos shared by Ukrainian officials online showed the “tenth defeat of the Russian invaders in Chornobaevka”. The continued failures to capture the village comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night that his country’s forces had “dealt powerful blows” to the Russian military.

Mr Arestovich told a press conference that Russian troops had tried to take Chornobaevka for the tenth time, but the assault again ended in failure.

Following this, the head of the nearby Mykolaiv Regional State Administration Vitaly Kim published a video showing “the defeat” as explosions erupt on the outskirts of the village.

The resolute village has become famous in Ukraine for its defence, as President Zelensky commended Chornobaivka last weekend for fending off six invasions at the time.

He said: “Ukrainian Chornobaivka will go down in war history. This is a place where the Russian military and their commanders have shown themselves for who they truly are – incompetent, capable of simply handing over their people for slaughter.

“Our military has annihilated the invaders near Chornobaivka six times.

“Six times, yet they keep coming back.”

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Online users ridiculed the latest Russian failures and hailed the Ukrainian defiance, with one Reddit user remarking: “At some point, I think every military intelligence outfit looking at this must be wondering how bad the rot is in the Russian military.”

One user visavillem added: “So this is the 10th time. Are Russians trying to bait Ukrainians to waste ammo with some obsolete/broken equipment, or are they really so stupid, that they keep stepping on the same rake again and again?”

Another user on Reddit adfgqert posted: “The Ukrainian people have resolve and determination that is beyond what I think is normal.

“Beyond inspirational and they bring fighting for what they believe in to a new level for me.” 

This comes amid ongoing setbacks for Russian military forces in the south of the country.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Russia had withdrawn most of its helicopters from a strategic airport in Kherson, in southern Ukraine, according to satellite images.

Kherson has also been the site of several local protests against the occupying Russian soldiers.

The official said: “We can’t corroborate exactly who is in control of Kherson but the point is, it doesn’t appear to be as solidly in Russian control as it was before.

“That would make it very, very difficult for them to make any kind of ground movement on Odesa.

“That would be a significant development, no question about that, in terms of the southern part of the war.” 


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