- A ranked United States Treasury official publicly characterized President Putin and his Kremlin elite as corrupt, as if to encourage his rivals
- News revelations depicting the president’s alleged hidden wealth soon followed
- The Panama Papers revelations upped the ante by detailing cronyism among Russia’s ruling elite
- The Russian leader sought to dismiss the charges but soon announced the creation of a huge military force under his direct control
- These and other clues indicate that Western political centers may be entertaining the idea of a palace revolution in Moscow
Even if such a scenario is not deemed highly probable, it is increasingly possible. With the exception of the October Revolution of 1917, leadership changes in the Soviet Union and in contemporary Russia have always followed the logic of palace coups, often arranged and controlled by groups within the ruling camp. The Kremlin’s nervous reaction to these developments is hardly surprising.