Entire Russian state facing ‘collapse’ as chaos for Putin ‘not over’, MP warns
Putin says ‘the organisers of this rebellion will face justice’
The crisis which enveloped Russia after a failed mutiny led by Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin is “not over by any stretch of the imagination”, Tory MP Alicia Kearns has warned.
The chairwoman of Parliament’s powerful Foreign Affairs committee believes every nation in the West and beyond is now “wargaming and planning” for what happens in the event of Vladimir Putin being toppled and the superpower unravelling into chaos.
The Russian President has been attempting to reassert his authority after the extraordinary events of Friday evening, which saw Wagner Group mercenaries occupy the southern Russian city of Rostov before heading for Moscow.
Wagner Group founder Prigozhin abruptly pulled the plug on the operation and issued a statement in which he denied it was a rebellion, but rather a bid to “bring to justice those who…made a huge number of mistakes during the special military operation.”
However, without naming the 62-year-old, Putin subsequently condemned “the organisers of the rebellion” for “betraying their country, their people, and also betrayed those who were drawn into the crime”.
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Prigozhin is now in Belarus, according to the country’s President Alexander Lukashenko, who, speaking yesterday, also said Wagner troops had been offered an abandoned military base if they wanted to join their leader.
Ms Kearns, the Tory MP for Rutland and Melton, told Express.co.uk: “I think we should all be very nervous, or maybe cautious, about a potential collapse of the Russian state.
“Obviously, every Western country and other countries around the world will now be wargaming and planning for what happens if that happens, because the consequences would be significant. For me, this is not over by any stretch of the imagination.”
She added: “The reality is the social contract between Putin and the Russian people has been broken.
“So what he said for the last 15 years or however long he has been President or Prime Minister is he will be the strong man, I will bring Russia to be great again, stretching as far as building back Greater Russia, but in return for me giving you greater security and stability, you have to live under an autocracy.
“And what we’ve learned is how deep the rot is in the kleptocracy, but particularly within the military and security infrastructure.
“What’s so fascinating about that, is that the one bit of the system that you’d have thought would have been kind of been tight.”
It was clear that Putin’s authority has been compromised, Ms Kearns said, posing a conundrum for the UK Government.
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She added: “There is very little the British Government can do except try to map out every possible eventuality.
“But as with the 1917 revolution in Russia, as with the 1991 coup, nobody saw them coming.
“This is the thing because they are down to individual characters deciding whether to act, it can literally turn on the slightest thing.
“We just do not know what might be coming and when it might be coming.
“They will be planning and thinking about every single possible outcome.
“Do I think we’re looking at President Prigozhin? No, I do not think we are.
“I don’t think Prigozhin wants to be President. I don’t think the oligarchy and others want to have him.
“But the Foreign Office will be looking at every possible situation nevertheless.”
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