Russia is facing a very serious threat of global humiliation on the killing fields in Ukraine, which could have existential consequences for Vladimir Putin and the regime.
The Russian leader’s power has “never been weaker” and it is seriously looking highly likely it “will become even more so” as he is “living on borrowed time.”
The very foundations of the Kremlin have been rocked amid Ukraine’s brilliant counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region where hundreds upon hundreds of Russians were killed and thousands fled.
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It is highly likely that Kyiv will retake the Luhansk and Donbas regions and then move to recapture Crimea.
Dmitry Palyuga, a Yabloko Party councillor from the Smolninskoye municipality, said Russia has grown “very tired of his games of conquest” and he warned that Putin is living on borrowed time.
He told Express.co.uk, “I don’t think Putin can be President for much longer.
“He doesn’t have any comprehensible goals and cannot offer anyone a model for the future – neither ordinary Russians nor the elites.
“In fact, his support in the last years has been built on fear and on the premise that he was defending Russia from conquest by NATO countries.
“But now everyone sees that the Russian army is weak and that actually Putin is unable to defend people even from this virtual threat.
“I think that today he has never been weaker and will become even more so.”
In August the Levada Centre carried out an opinion poll where it was alleged over three quarters of Russian support the war, but Palyuga described a very different picture.
He said that 60% of Russians are actually non-committal to the war in Ukraine, 20% are supporters and 20% are totally against Putin so called “special military operation.”
He continued, “The 60% simply want to get on with their lives. They don’t believe anyone and consider doing something as senseless.
“But as the counteroffensive develops it is going to be harder and harder for them to pretend that nothing is happening.
“I think the majority of them will be ready to join those opposed to military action rather than those who support it.”
He added, “There is quite a big risk (of repression). But we were ready to face it.
“We are very tired of Vladimir Putin and his games of conquest. Someone had to say aloud that what he is doing is harming and not helping Russia.
“We understood that Russian citizens have suffered a serious blow to their future.
“The combat ability of the army is being destroyed, and the economy and prosperity of Russian citizens is suffering.”
Palyuga concluded, “Russia has just one path – to stop the fighting and replace the President with someone able to admit our mistakes and to reach agreement on how to compensate Ukraine for the damage.
“One way or another, there will be democratisation but also very hard times as regards our economy and culture.”