REPORT: Palace coup may install spy chief over Putin
A new report says a small band of Russian elite are losing patience at Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and are plotting to install Alexander Bortnikov, head of its Federal Security Service (FSB), in his place
March 22, 2022 7:27am
Updated: March 23, 2022 11:32am
A new report says a small band of Russian elite are losing patience at Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and are plotting to install Alexander Bortnikov, head of its Federal Security Service (FSB), in his place.
Scotland’s The Herald reports the plotters are becoming frustrated with the personal costs of Western sanctions and the stalled progress of Russian troops on the ground in Ukraine, citing Ukrainian intelligence.
Once considered one of Putin’s closest, the relationship between Bortnikov and Putin has become strained when the Russian president blamed the FSB for underestimating the strength of Ukrainian resistance and overestimating the effectiveness of the Russian forces, according to The Herald.
“The official reason for the disgrace of [Bortnikov] is the fatal miscalculations in the war,” said a Ukrainian intelligence source.
“Bortnikov and his department were responsible for analysing the mood of Ukraine and the ability of the Ukrainian army,” the source added.
The Russian army’s progress in Ukraine has stalled, with their soldiers failing to take one major city. It appears to have shifted from hopes of a quick victory to an extended campaign of sustained bombing against civilian targets.
The cell wants the change as soon as possible and is considering several avenues, including poisoning or “an accident,” according to Ukrainian intelligence.
Putin has removed at least eight generals due to their inability to secure any early victories in Ukraine. He has had a series of uncharacteristically emotional public outbursts, such as a speech last week against “the scum and the traitors” amongst Russia’s populace.
And this has not been the first sign of discontent between Putin and his spy agency. The Chechen special forces sent to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were reportedly neutralized thanks to intel from sympathetic sources within the FSB.
Bortnikov is the leading candidate to replace Putin as they believe he could best restore economic ties with the U.S. and European Union, according to Ukrainian intelligence.
Many Russians fear a new “Iron Curtain,” like the one that isolated the communist Soviet Union socially and economically from the rest of the world, is descending over Europe.