Abbas Gallyamov, a former speechwriter for Vladimir Putin, in an exclusive interview for N1 reveals the mental state of Vladimir Putin, what his moves might be and what moves might be made by those who currently hold him in power. Gallyamov says that no threat from Vladimir Putin can be ruled out, but that some of his threats can be considered bluff.
N1: I said that you were a speech writer to Vladimir Putin. You know him, you know administration from inside. What is happening at the moment? Vladimir Putin have said that he will not do the mobilization of additional forces some months ago, but some Russians who fleeing now the country are saying that they're fleeing because there is unceratinty about that and that administration have lied to them. But also we are seeing more and more talk in international media that this might be the end of Vladimir Putin regime.
GALLYAMOV: Well, definitely the real reasons to speak about the end of his regime. Definitely his regime is getting weaker and weaker and the process of the delegitimization is speeding up. The only source of Putin's legitimacy has always been pure strength, just strength, nothing else. It was always believed that Putin is the strong man, that it's useless to resist him, that he will always achieve his aims, and if you're trying to resist he will destroy you. So it was useless to object. It was forced loyalty. Deep inside, if you look into this, the nature of Russian loyalty, you'll understand that this is a kind of Stockholm syndrome. First, you understand that you can't resist and then you are trying to understand this person just to make him predictable and you feel more comfortable if you find excuses for him. So this is exactly what was happening for 20 years in Russia. And now all of a sudden Russian public sees that he is no longer strong man. Maybe he never was. He was just pretending. As soon as he came across an enemy, a real, he stopped talking and started acting for the first time in his life and he immediately came. It turned out that it was a paper tiger that he's unable to win the war which he started and actually the war against the weak enemy. Yes, you should understand that Russians, they never treat the Ukrainians as equals, at least not in the last 20 years. The Russian public discourse imposed unto them by the regime, it always presupposed that Russians are the superior, like a nation and all the others they are intervention, that the only, well maybe China is great, well Russians don't like America, they understand that America is great, maybe Britain, but definitely all the others they are inferior. And then when all of a sudden this inferior nation is defeating our invincible army, look, this is like a shock. And this is definitely not the kind of shock that is strengthening importance positions. Now they are trying to portray, to change the picture to excuse this defeat, which Russian army is suffering. They're trying to change the picture. It's no longer we're waging war, it's a military operation against Ukraine. No, this is an all out war against the whole NATO. We are fighting the whole NATO. That's why we're facing such strong resistance. That's why we need mass mobilization. But here, even if you manage to excuse your previous losses, if you use this rhetoric of fighting NATO, another factor appears, which is also bad for you. But people don't want to lose their lives and they don't want to fight NATO actually, we understand why you are losing because you are fighting nato. Okay, great. Maybe you are not even to blame, but I am not going to fight this war. I don't want to to lose my life. At this moment when people don't want to go to war, they start looking for reasons, for arguments, why they shouldn't go. They're trying now to put to doubt the official rhetoric, rhetoric used by Kremlin this anti-NATO rhetoric. They're looking for excuses for their own fear and their unwillingness to go to war. They're looking at this NATO issue and they're asking themselves, NATO is not, it's not something new, which appeared like this year, actually NATO existed for almost 70 years and we somehow managed to live nearby for decades and there was noneed in war for several generations. So what happened now? Why couldn't we continue living peacefully with them? So they're looking for the openings in Putin's propaganda in this construction, which the propaganda is building. They're looking for weak spots here and they're finding them definitely. So all this is weakening the legitimacy of the regime and lowering down Putin's popularity. I think now his victory in the next elections 2024 is out of the question. He wouldn't be able to gain enough votes. Although of course he might try to falsify the results like they're doing.
N1: You have mentioned rhetorics of the Kremlin, you are part of that rhetorics machine. But when Vladimir Putin says that he's not bluffing when it comes to nuclear weaponry potential use in this war, not only against Ukraine but the rest of the world, is he bluffing or is he using that nuclear weapon just as rhetorical threat or he's really thinking that he will do that?
GALLYAMOV: Look, of course he is bluffing. He wants to scare everyone away. He wants NATO and Ukraine to stop. He's looking for peace now. But it does mean that he will definitely not use it no matter what. I don't mean this, no. Look, he's pretty crazy. And he is used to escalate all the time he is escalating. It's the only thing he can do in politics. He's always just close his eyes and go forward no matter what, hoping that the opponent will be, will prove more reasonable, more smart and step aside. So I can't promise that he would not press this button if he faces direct threat of losing the war and which definitely would mean losing power and getting to prison. So I wouldn't, unfortunately I wouldn't recommend anyone to try and test it. It's not ruled out that he will really try to do it. The other question is if the military command will comply with him, if the military will comply with his command to start this nuclear war, because I'm not sure that they're so fanatic like him and they have families. His legitimacy is being weaker and weaker at the moment when he decides to press this red button, so called red button. They might just refuse to do this. And this will mean a military cool. You should understand that this unquestionable obedience, it's only for totally legitimate leaders. And if the leader is not legitimate, if you doubt that, that what he's doing is correct, then you are trying to think your own way Already. You are not following the commands without thinking and you are thinking about your own responsibility for actions, for the actions which he demands to do, to make. Like, you know, if the command comes and military look into each other and they maybe they would just understand that they, they don't like it and why are we afraid of him? Look, Ukrainians are beating him, so why are we afraid of him? It might be something like this.