UKRAINE UPDATE: PUTIN’S HEALTH

TUESDAY 3 MAY 2022

NEW YORK TIMES

  • A warehouse of a Russian textbook company whose chairman is a close friend of Putin, went up in flames overnight.  This is another of the suspicious fires.  The warehouse is in the outskirts of Moscow.
  • It was reported that the company had tried to remove as many references as possible to “Ukraine” after the war started.
  • Arkady R. Rotenberg is the close friend of Putin, a billionaire and became chairman of the company in around 2013.
  • At least a dozen suspicious fires have broken out inside Russia recently.
  • This includes one fire at a military research institute near Moscow.
  • Moscow doubled its defense budget from 2005 to 2018.
  • There was a blast in the Russian city of Belgorod overnight.
  • A US diplomat says Russia plans to annex parts of Ukraine with “sham” elections.
  • The CIA is making a push for Russians with information to share contact them on the dark web.
  • Israel’s prime minister condemned comments by Russia’s foreign minister as antisemetic.

CITY AM

  • City a.M. 5/3/22: Rumors are swirling in Moscos that former generals and KGB officials are preparing to oust Putin and end the war.  The war is increasingly seen across Russia as “a strategic mistake and…an economic disaster.”
  • Reports are that the head of Putin’s forme employer, the Russian security service FSB, is so frustrated with the progress of the war he had reached out to others. 
  • A group called the “Siloviki” comprised of former FSB officers who are active in Russian politics, is said to be pushing hard to replace Putin, together with former officers from the GRU,KGB and FSO, and other Russian intelligence units. 
  • Russian expert Andrei Soldatov said: “The Russian President has been bracin for a coup for some weeks as has faced fierce criticism over his ‘special operation’ in Ukraine and he has purged around 150 of his spies over the constant failures.”
  • Rumor is also that Putin’s health has taken a hit since the war.
  • The relationship between Putin and the FSB has deteriorated since the start of the war.
  • Last month, two officials in the FB, were put under house arrest by Putin.
  • Soldatov’s investigative website, Agentura.
  • This is seen as a sign that Putin thinks that the FSB may be working against him.
  • Russian analyst Alexey Muraview is also convinced that Putin is facing a coup.

NY POST (Note: I have not seen this story elsewhere.  I am including it just for information.  I did hear on a podcast that Russia’s head of federal police’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev is not in the chain of command to take over power from Putin.)

  • Putin is set to undergo cancer surgery and temporarily hand over power to a “hardline former federal police chief.”
  • He will transfer control to Nikolai Patrushev. 
  • This information comes from “the mysterious Telegram channel “General SVR.”
  • The channel which is “purportedly” run by a former Russian Foreign Intelligence Service lieutenant general known as “Viktor Mikhailovich.”
  • The channel released a video where the narrator says: “Patrushev is an outright villain.  He is no better than Putin.  If he comes to power Russians’ problems will only multiply.”
  • The video follows reporting by “The Project” claiming that Putin has seen a cancer doctor 35 times in recent years.  He is so paranoid about his health he is resorting to “unconventional, and barbaric, therapies.”
  • The problem is suspected to be some sort of thyroid problem.

TWITTER

  • Anders Aslund: After losing the battle of Kyiv, Putin did not relinquish his immediate military command, but has tightened it.  “Putin thinks he is a genius and all others fools.  That is his greatest mistake.”
  • Nolan Peterson: Russian forces now reportedly attempting to storm Azovstal in Mariupol with ground forces.
  • Ukraine World: Russian-organized Viber chats are actively spreading anti-semitic propaganda.  This is hardly coincidence. 
  • Olga Lautman: the FSB is harassing and calling in family members of people who left Russia.
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