For years, Russian leader Vladimir Putin enveloped himself with yes men, feeding his ego with their adoration, satisfying their greed, and turning a blind eye as they pillaged the country.
Putin demanded only unwavering loyalty in exchange, which has been sorely tested, following his unprompted invasion of Ukraine.
A number of public figures have condemned the invasion of Ukraine & left their posts at state-run institutions and companies, over the war. No indications that the resignations have reached into Putin’s inner circle. https://t.co/BPSb2QJ33v
— Rasta™🎧 𝐁𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬⚓ (@rastasack) March 25, 2022
However, in the four weeks since he directed his military to enter the neighboring country, Putin’s close circle of close associates has begun to fray.
Putin, a former KGB intelligence officer, has not reacted well to criticism. He looked menacingly at anyone who has even shown a little bit of doubt. He said he will “purify” Russia of those who has betrayed her.
Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu disappeared from public view because of “heart conditions.”
This was just a few days after it was revealed that Putin launched a witch hunt to get rid of members of his inner circle who leaked his war plans to the US and Britain.
Shoigu had been missing for 13 days before reappearing on Thursday in recordings of a Kremlin security committee meeting broadcast on Russian state television.
However, some independent Russian news outlets thought the video might be old footage of Shoigu, but they didn’t know for sure.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon disclosed it had also been unable to contact Shoigu or other senior Kremlin military officials.
Supposedly Ksenia, the 31-year-old daughter of the man, was taking a picture in the colors of Ukraine: yellow and blue.
His absence from public view comes on the heels of a top Russian official admitting, for the first time, the tidal wave of western sanctions caught the nation off guard.
The admission is unlikely to sit well with his leader, who already ordered the arrests of several senior top generals.
According to the Daily Mail, Putin has also been critical of his lifelong friend and ally Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), and Valery Gerasimov, the Russian general staff chief.
Bortnikov was supposed to be a stand-in leader, in the event of Putin’s demise in a coup.
Putin also ordered the detention of two further FSB officers, Col.-Gen. Sergey Beseda, head of the FSB’s “Fifth Service,” and his deputy, Anatoly Bolyuk.
Russian observers stated Russia’s failure to conquer Kyiv quickly surely contributed to Putin’s emotional spiral.
After 12 days of stealing Putin's tanks, Ukrainian farmers are now unofficially the fifth-largest military in Europe pic.twitter.com/ImLfDYrcjU
— Business Ukraine mag (@Biz_Ukraine_Mag) March 8, 2022
Until lately, Putin’s advisers appeared to have told him what he wishes to hear out of fear of his reactions.
Putin’s cabal is closing in on him, due to Ukrainian opposition and the severity of global sanctions imposed on his country.
“He is no longer the cold-blooded, straightforward dictator of 2008,” former CIA Director John Brennan said.
Another senior diplomat told the news organization there was concern about what a more erratic Putin might do.
The source explained, “the top focus is the information Putin is receiving and the isolation he is experiencing. We believe he lacks a rational understanding of what is occurring.”