They don’t like Putin in the West, but suddenly they want him stay and not to go!

11:51 11.07.2023 •


The recent attempted mutiny in Russia proved that no matter how much many world leaders hate Vladimir Putin, they don’t want the Russian president suddenly ousted, writes POLITICO.

The instability that could follow isn’t worth the risk.

The possibility of post-Putin chaos in Russia is one key factor many countries — from adversaries such as the United States to Russia partners such as China — considered as they calibrated their reactions to mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s armed rebellion against Moscow.

The Biden administration has taken many steps, including imposing economic sanctions, that arguably are weakening Putin in the wake of his war on Ukraine. But Washington has repeatedly insisted it does not back regime change in Russia, a fellow nuclear power.

At the moment, the lack of a clear successor, or the possibility of a violent warlord such as Prigozhin taking charge, leaves too many uncomfortable variables to openly root for a Putin overthrow, according to two current U.S. officials, two foreign officials and one former U.S. official.

“The United States has no interest in instability inside Russia that has the potential to spill over into Europe,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former U.S. intelligence official who specializes in Russia and autocracies. “Regime change that occurs through a chaotic and violent process is also the most likely to produce another authoritarian leader, which could possibly be worse than Putin.”

Two U.S. officials who deal with Russia policy said the Biden administration considered questions about the stability of the Russian state as it crafted its response to last weekend’s brief mutiny.

As the rebellion unfolded, President Joe Biden and his aides kept their public comments limited and low-key. They referred to the crisis as an “internal matter” for Russia. European countries and other allies against Russia took similar cautious approaches.

“Instability anywhere has costs — costs to the citizens of that country, to the region. In a place like Russia, it could have global implications,” said one of the U.S. officials, who, like others, was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic decisions.

“Everything will be affected, from global supplies of oil, gas, enriched uranium… agriculture, food security,” said a Central Asian diplomat. Russian stability is of crucial importance to Central Asian states, the diplomat said, because “at the end of the day, we will still be living next door to Russia.”

Governments that have taken a neutral position in the Russia-West standoff over Ukraine — such as India, Brazil and South Africa — have largely avoided direct comment on the rebellion.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who himself put down a coup attempt and has tried to stay cordial with Putin, spoke to the Russian leader during the recent crisis. “It was stressed that no one should take advantage of what transpired in Russia,” according to a Turkish readout.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte pushed back against Putin’s assertions that the West wants chaos in Russia. “On the contrary, instability in Russia creates instability in Europe. So we are concerned,” he said.

Putin is now expected to consolidate his power even further, if only to prove he’s firmly in charge.

Some analysts argue that he could ultimately emerge stronger.


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