There are degrees to failure, particularly in instances of giant, geopolitical issues, and Vladimir Putin appears to be smack dab in the middle of running that particular gauntlet.
His army is in ruins, and worse, their reputation is shattered. Never again will another decently-sized nation fear a Russian invasion, and so Putin has turned to making belligerent and desperate threats of nuclear war.
As it turns out, this isn’t the sort of thing that even his most obedient cronies can abide by.
A member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle has voiced disagreement directly to the Russian president in recent weeks over his handling of the war in Ukraine, according to information obtained by U.S. intelligence.
The criticism marks the clearest indication yet of turmoil within Russia’s leadership over the stewardship of a war that has gone disastrously wrong for Moscow, forcing Putin last month to order the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of troops in a desperate bid to reverse recent battlefield losses.
And this wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill snippet, either.
The information was deemed significant enough that it was included in President Biden’s daily intelligence briefing and shared with other U.S. officials, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.
Putin doesn’t suffer backtalk well, (or at all), and so this report marks a significant turn towards rationality at the Kremlin, and it comes at a crucial time.