Vladimir Putin’s Crisis Averted—For Now

Armored vehicles and fighters of the Wagner Group on the streets of Rosotov-on-Don, Russia, on June 24, 2023. (Photo by Arkady Budnitsky/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Like many people, I was glued to the news for much of Saturday, watching what seemed, at least for a moment, to be the first stages of a coup d’état in Russia—and it still might be. 

The only thing we know for certain is that if this is the beginning of the end of Vladimir Putin’s rule, that story won’t begin with the mutinous mercenary warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin leading an armored column of troops, guns a-blazing, into Moscow. 

The funniest thing about much of the reporting and commentary of Prigozhin’s “March For Justice,” both in real-time and afterward, is how often observers described the spectacle asunprecedented.” The Telegraph’s “Ukraine: The Latest” podcast—the best single source for daily coverage of the Ukraine war—described the “unprecedented coup against the Kremlin” at the top of a special Saturday episode, only for the panelists to start debating which coups from Russian history served as the best precedent for the unfolding events in Russia. 

Even Putin, in his angry Saturday address, compared Prigozhin’s “stab in the back” to General Lavr Kornilov’s attempted coup in 1917 that paved the way for the Bolshevik Revolution and the Russian Civil War. 

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