Russian troops deployed to protect the capital withdrew Sunday after mercenary forces beat a retreat. But the short-lived revolt could have long-term consequences for President Vladimir Putin’s two-decade hold on power and his war in Ukraine.
Putin’s image as a tough leader had already been badly bruised by the Ukraine war, which has dragged on for 16 months and claimed huge numbers of Russian troops.
Saturday’s march toward Moscow by forces under the command of his onetime protege, Yevgeny Prigozhin, exposed further weaknesses, many analysts said.
It also meant some of the best forces fighting for Russia in Ukraine were pulled from that battlefield: Prigozhin’s own Wagner troops and Chechen ones sent to stop them.