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The Daily Vertical: Putin's Khrushchev Fears (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

This is Part Three of a special Daily Vertical series on Vladimir Putin and The Ghosts Of Kremlins Past. (The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.)

Vladimir Putin doesn't want to turn into Nikita Khrushchev.

In fact, perhaps the only thing that frightens Putin more than being overthrown in a colored revolution is being toppled by a palace coup like Khrushchev was back in 1964.

That's why he's obsessed with conspiracies, both foreign and domestic.

That's why he goes to great lengths to project an image of strength and an aura of invincibility.

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That's why he doesn't trust old comrades like Sergei Ivanov, Viktor Ivanov, and Vladimir Yakunin.

That's why he's been busy promoting his old bodyguards to top posts.

That's why he thinks needs a 400,000-strong personal Praetorian Guard force -- one run by his uber-loyal former bodyguard, Viktor Zolotov.

And that's why he's toying with resurrecting the old KGB in the form of a new Ministry of State Security.

Putin is determined not to become Khrushchev.

And to prevent this, he needs to keep the elite off balance with constant purges, reshuffles, and carefully targeted prosecutions.

And as a result, he's quickly becoming a caricature of the lonely and isolated autocrat.

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