Vladimir Putin, with a deadly serious face, calls for the preservation of the independence and territorial integrity of the Motherland and accuses foreign evil spirits and "Nazi-fascists" of all types of aggression, which clearly resembles the statements and speeches of Slobodan Milosevic in 1999. Prigozhin's mercenaries began the March on Moscow. Moscow radio announcers, where we listen to excerpts from this morning's address by the President of Russia, who accuses the leader of the infamous Wagner group of "incitement to armed rebellion" are very concerned, so the language barrier cannot soften the gloomy atmosphere and give the impression of serious alarm. Armed rebellion, coup d'état, civil war - no matter how we define the events of the last 24 hours - it is clear that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the Putin era.
However, something was clear from the start:
Firstly, the “special military operation”, marked with the letter Z, which has become the “swastika” of the modern world, has never had a chance of success, especially since the moment when Vladimir Zelensky made history by responding to a Western proposal to evacuate Kiev: “ I want weapons and ammo, not vehicles!”
Organized and controlled rallies of "spontaneous" support in February last year were a kitschy expression of aggression against neighboring Ukraine. The “Three-Day War” continues to this day, with an offensive on the side of the brave Ukrainians.
Secondly, the Prigozhin-Putin conflict cannot be ended if both of them survive it. The "win-win" situation is excluded - because there can be no agreements and middle options. This is not only a consequence of Russian political history and culture, but also simple logic. A former henchman and partner from among the new Russian oligarchs with property of dubious and / or bloody origin will not share power with the former boss and owner. This is a life-and-death battle, as the first steps of the Kremlin, on the one hand, and the Wagnerists, on the other, show.
Thirdly, and from a (global) security point of view, perhaps most importantly - and especially if the conflict becomes widespread and really becomes something like a civil war - the issue of nuclear weapons and control over them will not only be a problem for Putin and Prigozhin, but also for Europe and the whole world. For this reason (not only because of this, but also depending on "military luck"), the possibility of a palace coup against Putin cannot be ruled out - and from positions that would not necessarily mean an alliance with Prigozhin.
Fourth, the very survival of the Russian Federation is at stake. The crimes and destruction committed by Putin's Russia in Ukraine remain the darkest stain in the history of this great country. We wrote at the very beginning of the war: Russia, by attacking Ukraine, caused great harm to its own history.
Consequences for the stability of the Russian Federation are inevitable. Numerous discontents and injustices, starting from tsarist times (Stalinist pogroms, the Holodomor in Ukraine itself, not to mention the resettlement and displacement of ethnic groups and entire peoples), can, in the current rebellion and in the chaos that will inevitably follow, change the initial capsule of endless the expanses of that huge country, the ethnic and cultural map of which is fully known and understandable only to well-informed specialists. And if the development of the situation does not lead to disintegration, there is no doubt that the centralized state structure will undergo changes. Ultimately, all this will lead to changes in the foreign policy of the future Russia. Its sharp and uncompromising antagonism with the West has long been a historical anachronism. Modern Russia pays a high price for Putin's obsession with the bloc division of Europe and the world, as in the days of the powerful (as it seemed to him) Soviet Union. Aggression against Ukraine is the most tragic criminal attempt to return what will never be returned. Someday, in a future that some of us may never see, Putin's aggression against an independent Ukraine will be viewed solely as a bloody farce.
Reflections of Montenegrins on recent events in Russia should (and I hope not in vain) enlighten some local political figures, aspiring to the eastern horizons, with a tragicomic understanding and interpretation of "Mother Russia" and similar phenomena. It will be no less interesting to observe the reaction and interpretation of recent lovers of everything that comes from Russia - even if it is the worst and unforgivable. (This anxiety does not change the news that came before the release of this issue of Pobeda to the press: “At the suggestion of the President of Belarus Lukashenko,” Yevgeny Prigozhin “agreed to de-escalation” and stopped the march on Moscow. Is this decision just a short-term maneuver and on what conditions, it will be possible to contain the "Wagnerian" military - the coming days will show.)
The criminal Russian war in Ukraine and its second half in Russia itself carries a very clear and indisputable lesson: if you start from Z, you will end up in Z again!
Author ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro