barfi23_MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEVSPUTNIKAFP via Getty Images_putin coup fantasy MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

The Russian Coup Fantasy

Military coups depend largely on two factors: officers’ predisposition for overthrowing governments and the preventive measures taken by the regime. In Vladimir Putin’s meticulously constructed Fortress Russia, the former is in short supply, and the latter are abundant.

WASHINGTON, DC – “For God’s sake,” US President Joe Biden declared last month, “this man cannot remain in power,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose war of aggression in Ukraine has rocked the global – especially European – economy. While the White House immediately clarified that Biden was expressing moral outrage, not calling for regime change, the possibility of a Kremlin coup d’état has received much attention, especially as the country’s military has racked up huge losses of personnel and equipment.

Weeks before Biden’s declaration, US Senator Lindsey Graham called for a Russian Brutus to “take out” Putin’s Julius Caesar, and some observers believe that Russia’s military officers or security services might do just that. Politicians and government officials, among whom discontent is reportedly growing, might support such a move, as might a broader defection of Putin-allied elites.

But this is probably wishful thinking. Military coups depend largely on two factors: officers’ predisposition for overthrowing the government and the preventive measures taken by the regime. In Putin’s meticulously constructed Fortress Russia, the former is in short supply, and the latter are abundant.

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