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Putin’s strength now looks like his main weakness

President Vladimir Putin’s immense power looks like it might now be a key weakness for the Russian leader, with those around him seemingly too scared to tell him the truth, or to question his rationale or strategy when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin Immense Power over EU
President Vladimir Putin Immense Power

Putin systematically got rid of people who could have challenged him, leaving only the most loyal and fearful ones,” Anton Barbashin, a Russian political analyst and editorial director of the journal Riddle, told CNBC Thursday.


“Any autocrat or dictator, the longer he stays in power, eventually surrounds himself with people that are first loyal, and only then (even if so) are competent,” he added.

“We have a fix for it — it is called the separation of power and office term limits, but Putin believed he could work around it. No one can. So we have both the nations of Ukraine, and to a lesser degree Russia, paying for it.”

Newly declassified U.S. intelligence released on Wednesday suggested that Putin has not been given the whole truth about Russia’s botched invasion of Ukraine and that the president feels misled by his military leaders who did not tell him key details about the war — which has not gone to plan with Russian forces bogged down in fighting in the north, east and south — because they feared angering him.

Moscow strikes military base in western Ukraine, killing at least 35, Ukrainian officials say.

Barbashin said that while he was cautious about accepting the veracity of the U.S. intelligence update wholesale, it was likely that the information Putin receives — mostly coming from his security agencies or his own presidential administration — is biased and inaccurate.

Such information, Barbashin noted, “Can and most likely is always manipulated by people around him.”

“No one wants to deliver bad news and every agency that works for him wants to be the one that proves its value before him,”

READ MORE: News on Ukraine: Pope Calls Ukraine Invasion “Armed Agression”

he said. “We don’t know what exactly is happening there. But clearly, judging by some noise … Putin is not happy with how war is going.”

CNBC has contacted the Kremlin for a response to the intelligence report and is awaiting a response.

Source: Holly Ellyatt – CNBC

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