FSB letters, a failed invasion, and low morale – Russia faces political instability in a manner it never anticipated.

Putin’s war in Ukraine is, by many accounts, a sinking ship – and Russians don’t want to be a part of it. Consistent defeat on the frontlines and unproductive negotiations have led to an incredibly low morale amongst Russian soldiers. Despite the red flags, Russian officials are preparing for even more covert mobilization efforts.

However, the war in Ukraine may no longer be as big of a concern as a potential fallout between Putin and his allies. Since the beginning of the setbacks, conflicts have been arising between various pro-government factions. Ramsan Kadyrov, a Russian military officer and the leader of Chechnya, harshly criticized the Central Military District of Lapin’s commander on October 1 for abandoning the vitally important city of Liman. 

In what appeared to be a regular letter from ‘Winds of Change’ to Vladmir Osechkin, a Russian exile, the FSB whistleblower detailed the high risk of chaos in Russia in the coming months as the intent for a full-scale war slowly fades away in many parts of Russia. The letters were translated by Igor Sushko.

“Chaos, civil war, collapse—yes, it’s all ahead of us. It is inevitable,” the FSB agent said. “Too many in Russia have crossed the point of no return. They plan to be little czars in the areas they manage to capture. At least, that’s the way they are thinking.”

Winds of Change imposter, believed to be a low ranking Russian military member

The whistleblower, earlier thought to be Winds of Change [Oscheckin’s link to the FSB], is now believed to be a low ranking member of the military. While the initial emails detailed an attack on Kyiv from Belarus, Winds of Change responded to the imposters’ letters but did not refute those claims – maintaining that such a scenario is very much possible.

“There will be battles of the regions for the division of resources. Or a scramble of various forces for control over regions or chunks of the country (Russia),” 

Winds of Change imposter, believed to be a low ranking Russian military member

Winds of Change provides more context in his letter to Oschekin:

“Attempting a successful attack (on Kyiv) from RB (Belarus) is an option, but there are nuances…I suppose I could accept the whole “plan of attack” (on Kyiv) was conceived by some generals as a method of disposing of Prigozhin’s resources, and was given to those who were responsible for the planning, on whom all the dogs will be sicced. But this is only a conjecture”

Winds of Change letter to Vladmir Osechkin, November 18th, 2022

These letters make much more sense when we take into account the fact that Prigozhin, nicknamed ‘Putin’s Chief’, continues to consolidate power as the war lingers on.

Russian troops are being assisted in their attempts to seize territory in Ukraine by mercenaries from the notorious private organization – Prigozhin’s Wagner Group.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S. defense and foreign policy think tank, has determined that the group could represent a challenge to Putin’s leadership.

According to ISW researchers, Prigozhin is building up his influence and creating a military structure that is similar to the Russian Armed Forces, which might eventually pose a threat to Putin’s leadership.

Wagner Group financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin continues to establish himself as a highly independent, Stalinist warlord in Russia, becoming a prominent figure within the nationalist pro-war community.

Institute for the Study of War

The think tank added that Prigozhin is able to freely promote himself, his forces, and criticize Kremlin officials or the Russian military without worrying about backlash as he establishes a constituency of supporters and his own fighting force that are not directly under the control of the Russian military or the Ministry of Defense.

Exhausting Prigozhin’s military resources and crippling the structure he is trying to build parallel to the Russian military is possibly one of the bigger challenges Putin has to face as a consequence of his ill-derived plan to invade Ukraine.

Even with his attempts to consolidate more power, it may be incredibly difficult for Prigozhin to form a significant political coalition given his stained track record.

Stability is soon to be a word completely and utterly alien to the world of Russian politics as Putin begins to see the destructive fallout for his regime thanks to the war in Ukraine.

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