To Whom Is Putin Answerable?

Did you ever wonder what happened to the old Soviet KGP? Apparently, it went the way of the Cheka, the NKVD, the OGPU, and the MGB. It just changed its name to the FSB (ФСБ in Cyrillic) or Federal Security Service and it continues its usual depredations on the Russian people.

Do you remember what happened to Nikita Khrushchev after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962? He was sent to do gardening in the Ukraine and replaced by Brezhnev and Kosygin. I do believe that Vladimir Putin is risking the same sort of coup by the FSB and other Russian state security services—all because he squandered Russian resources in a madcap attempt to take over Ukraine.

Putin comes from the Russian state security services. He was a top officer in the KGB and spent time heading up security in East Germany. So he knows that the main threat to his rule over Russia is not the voters, not the oligarchs, not even the military, but actually the Federal Security Service (or Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации) and its allied agencies. They made Putin, and they can just as easily unmake him.

Consider the following actions which make Russia look bad in the eyes of the world, and particularly in the eyes of the FSB:

  • Putin assumed the invasion would be met by welcoming Ukrainians bearing candy and flowers, and not stinger missiles and Molotov Cocktails.
  • After three weeks, the ground invasion has stalled.
  • Some 5,000 Russian soldiers are dead—twice the number of American deaths in 20 years fighting in Afghanistan.
  • The Russians are unable to supply their advance units with gasoline, food, trucks, tanks, or ammunition.
  • Putin has reportedly asked China for help in quelling the Ukrainians.
  • There are rumors of Putin employing mercenaries from Syria and elsewhere to shore up the depleted ground forces.

In the end, Ukraine may fall to the Russians, but only at an exorbitant cost.