Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined Fox News anchor and former press secretary to President George W. Bush, Dana Perino, to discuss the fallout from recent events in Russia.
“I’ve seen a lot of strange things in studying Russia and working with [them], but this is one of the strangest,” Rice replied when asked for her assessment.
“Indeed, we now think perhaps the U.S. intelligence knew that something was brewing inside the Wagner group,” Rice continued, referring to armed rebellion in Russia over the weekend in which paramilitary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin began a march on Moscow, but quickly called it off.
“Russian intelligence must have known that something was brewing. They keep people inside of all of these units who are loyal to the Kremlin. But they didn’t do anything about it before it reached this fever pitch. It’s really quite strange to me,” Rice continued, before noting her surprise at the quick resolution.
“As I recall, Putin has always been worried about this. Is that right?” Perino asked.
“This is the kind of in Russian DNA to worry about it, the revolt. They’ve had multiple revolts against the Kremlin throughout their history. The most famous, of course, the one that Putin referenced in 1917 that brought down first the Russian empire and then the Soviet Union,” Rice replied, adding:
And so there’s always this concern that there will be a mutiny. And of course, they had the mutiny against Gorbachev in August of 1991. So this is not unusual. He’s been worried about it. He keeps a pretorian guard to protect himself. But again, he really set this in motion by allowing this back and forth between Prigozhin and the defense minister and the chief of the general staff by allowing a an armed militia within the state that was not controlled by the state and then sending them off into Ukraine and Syria and other places, taking advantage of their brutality, but now having them turn on him. It’s like a Frankenstein. Dr. Frankenstein having created this monster.
“A few people suggested maybe this was all a ruse, that maybe Putin planned all of this. What do you think of that?” Perino followed up.
“Well, I think it probably gives them too much credit. I, at one point I thought, could this be staged? But you wouldn’t stage something, I think that makes you look so weak, because really, dictators, authoritarians rest on three principles,” Rice replied.
“One is there has to be fear in the population. Secondly, you have to look invincible. Third, there can be no alternatives. Well, this has exploded all of those for Putin,” she argued, adding:
It also has exploded his myth that the Ukrainian special military operation could take place without any effect on Russia, without any effect on the Russian population, and that it was a just and necessary war. Probably the most damaging thing about this is that Prigozhin said what has been unspoken by those who have supported the war, that this is actually a war that did not have to take place where hundreds of thousands of Russians did not have to die, where a million people didn’t have to flee the country. That, to me is the most damaging thing that Prigozhin has done.
Prigozhin released video clips ahead of his march north from Ukraine, in which he rebutted some of the often repeated justifications for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, noting that neither NATO nor Ukraine posed a military threat to Russia. He outright accused the Russian Ministry of Defense of lying to the Russian people with a “story about the crazy aggression from the Ukrainian side and the plans to attack us with the entire NATO bloc.”
Watch the full clip above via Fox News.
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