The World Today for July 06, 2023


Humbled but Unbowed


Now that Russian President Vladimir Putin has survived Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Wagner Group’s apparent coup attempt, the world is wondering what happens next.

Charges against Prigozhin, who supposedly is in Belarus, and the Wagner military contractors who marched on Moscow have been dropped. As France 24 noted, nobody has verified that Prigozhin ever arrived in the East European country, however. Wagner troops are now back to fighting Ukrainians, though. Meanwhile, Russian army Gen. Sergei Surovikin, who allegedly had ties with the Wagner Group, has gone missing, CNN reported.

The fates of those various actors are intimately tied to Putin’s future. Pundits from around the globe are saying that the Russian president’s relatively soft approach to the coup plotters could make him look weak inside and outside the country. The headline in the Economist – “The humbling of Vladimir Putin” – summed up this sentiment. Even former US President Donald Trump, who seems to have a love-hate relationship with Putin, said that the Russian president was “somewhat weakened,” added Reuters.

As Foreign Policy magazine reported, Putin appeared “rattled and angry” when he went on national television to denounce the coup. He said he would bring the plotters to justice, prosecuting them to the greatest extent of the law – then reversed himself. Coupled with horrific losses on the battlefield to the Ukrainians fighting for their lives and their country’s sovereignty, Putin no longer looked like the “clever, manipulating strongman” who exercises autocratic control, but an overwhelmed, aging dictator struggling to react to the chaos that he has unleashed.

Doubts and debates about Putin’s competence have spread in the Russian military and security services, wrote Bloomberg. Critics of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are demanding his removal. Prigozhin had been calling for Shoigu’s dismissal, but Shoigu is a close ally of Putin.

Most concerning, wrote Russian journalist Mikhail Zygar in a New York Times op-ed, was that Putin might not know that his authority is crumbling. Putin attended the Scarlet Sails celebration of high school graduates in his hometown of St. Petersburg, for example, on May 24, the same day when Prigozhin launched the coup. The move made him look like he was divorced from reality. “Nothing, not even armed revolt, would deter him from his favorite party,” Zygar wrote.

Perhaps Putin orchestrated the coup attempt so he could avert regime change and, in the process, cement his authority, as a Newsweek op-ed suggested.

Others in Politico speculated that the world might be lucky that Putin retained power. The collapse of his regime could pave the way for instability and even more violent Russian leaders to assume power.

No matter what is the truth, as long as Putin is in office, time is on his side.

To read the full edition and support independent journalism, join our community of informed readers and subscribe today!

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.