A senior commander of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) intelligence agency has been placed under house arrest amid cataclysms and fighting among officials amid President Vladimir Putin’s outrage over Ukraine’s failed invasion, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. .
Russian Commander Colonel-General Sergei Beseda was in charge of the FSB operation in Ukraine, the newspaper reported, citing a US official.
The unidentified US official also told the newspaper that “disputes” broke out between the FSB and the Russian Ministry of Defense, which were the key government agencies planning the invasion.
The New York Times, citing Russian news sources, reported that a second FSB officer was also under house arrest.
Russia’s military operation did not go as well as planned. CIA Director William Burns told Congress earlier this month that Putin had planned to take over the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, within two days. Still, the city continued to repel Russian forces for almost a month after the invasion began. Five Russian generals have been killed in the fighting, according to Ukraine.
This is bad news for Putin officials, observers warn.
“When it comes to this man, it’s clear that the ‘someone is guilty and will pay’ culture is clearly still in place,” former CIA and National Security Council official Jeffrey Edmunds told the Journal.
But pointing fingers and growing fear and discontent in the Kremlin could also be bad news for Putin.
Russian history scholar Stephen Kotkin said in a recent interview with the New Yorker that Putin only receives information he “wants to hear.” In any case, he believes he is better and smarter. This is the problem of despotism, “he added. “That is why despotism, or even just authoritarianism, is omnipotent and fragile at the same time.”
See the full story of the Wall Street Journal here.