Death Becomes Putin!
On Jan. 4, 2016, Col. Gen. Igor Sergun, Former Director of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Russia’s General Staff [GRU] died at the young age of 58 from unknown causes. To most aficionados of intelligence, Igor was described as a quiet, effective operative who was able to consolidate power over near and far aspects of Russia’s extensive borders [remember it has 11 time zones].
Igor and his Kremlin buddy, Vladislav Surkov, had been lauded for their innovative approach to the guerrilla warfare strategy assisting the ‘separatist leaders’ in Eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately for Igor, he and his comrades in the GRU were not very popular with the FSB [old KGB], once headed by Russia’s saintly leader, Vladimir Putin.
As one might have expected from a Tom Clancy novel, both FSB and GRU were competing with each other for control of domestic and foreign intelligence. Each side jockeyed for position in the grand halls of the Kremlin.
It appeared that the GRU was winning that contest until the FSB garnered most of the control over both the Chechnya and the Ukraine over the past few weeks. Even more interesting was the fact that there are rumors in the IC suggesting that Sergun did not have a heart attack. Instead, it is believed he may have died in Lebanon or Syria. In either case, it appears that Putin is trying to tighten the reins of control over his different competing intelligence services.
What makes this issue even more interesting is the fact that the FSB and other IC units have been depleted of necessary funds during this past year as the price of oil dropped from $100 to $20 per barrel. And, while Russia is descending into an economic cauldron of impending riots, Putin is concerned that he may not be able to manage what may turn out to be a next revolution [not Bolshevik].
The Russian people are stoic. Yet, they are also entitled to bread, butter and vodka. If the basic nutrients are not provided to them ASAP, then Putin has to worry about the loyalty of his internal security apparatus that has to oversee more than eighty different federations [20 of which are already bankrupt].
From my perspective, I think that the sudden unexpected death of a GRU General means that Putin and his Kremlin cohorts are in serious trouble. The mysterious death of a senior GRU general does not become Putin. It may portend to increasingly greater political/economic problems.
Time is not on Putin side. The only factor left for him is to pray in the Orthodox Russian Church while he cracks down on potential dissidents.
What an unholy alliance!
God Help Us!