A former CIA director has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be a “dead man walking” due to the high number of casualties his troops have suffered in the conflict with Ukraine.
Olson, the former CIA head of counterintelligence, said things are not looking good. He said he would be deposed.
The 30-year CIA veteran and multiple-medal recipient said he believes a “strong undercurrent of hostility to Putin” exists in the Russian military and among Russian billionaires because of the massive loss of life Russian forces have suffered.
He reasoned that the conflict might end if Putin were deposed in an uprising. He refused to exclude the most extreme outcome of this scenario, stating, “To eliminate Putin, I suppose. For that matter, I wouldn’t even rule out murder.”
Olson said Putin’s generals are “disgusted” by the slaughter and pointlessness of the conflict in Ukraine. Between 60,000 and 70,000 Russian servicemen have been killed in action in Ukraine since the battle started, according to a brief issued by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in February.
Russian soldiers are engaged in a “slaughter-fest” in the continuing war for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, US General Mark Milley, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee this week.
According to Olson, a revolt against Putin may be sparked by angry military officers.
“And if they did that, Putin would be finished,” in his opinion. It was too much for him to take. Rather than military defeat, Putin’s demise seems more probable to me.
Russia would have a “bright future” without Putin as its leader, and he is hopeful because he believes those who are driven to destroy Putin would do it for the right reasons (to rescue Russia).
Experts on both sides of the conflict have expressed concern, but Putin may not be willing to give up power or cease the fighting very soon.