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A former Russian official currently working with an opposition leader says Putin could lose his grip on power in months

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Russian opposition activists Ilya Yashin, right, and Vladimir Milov in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 14, 2018.AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

  • A former Russian official told CNN that Russia’s elite will begin to question Putin’s leadership.

  • Vladimir Milov said officials were already concerned about Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

  • Milov said officials are watched and afraid to communicate with each other about policies.

A former Russian deputy energy minister, now an adviser to opposition leader Alexy Navalny, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s term was running out.

Vladimir Milov told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Saturday that senior Russian government officials were “personally devastated” by Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.

“For the first time, we are stepping back. We had a lot of difficulties in the 70s, and the 80s, and the 90s, but we were still opening up a bit to the world and the direction was very different.” says Milov. “Now Russia is disconnected from global markets, global financial architecture, technology, logistics, etc.”

Milov said this disconnect is not something that has happened before and those in positions of power recognize that.

“So when I say devastated, I mean it,” Milov said.

In a March 18 editorial in the Journal of Democracy, Milov wrote that “Putin’s days are numbered.”

He told Burnett on Saturday that Putin still maintains a strong grip on power, but probably not for long.

“He may hang on for a while, but in a few weeks, months, later, a lot more people inside the system will start to wonder what he’s doing, ordinary Russians will express their displeasure with the deterioration of the economic situation, to the huge losses from the war. This is something that Putin has never experienced,” Milov said.

Milov said Russian elites will begin to question the direction of the country and whether Putin is the right leader.

Currently, however, he said communication between government officials is monitored significantly, perhaps even more so than opposition monitoring. Opponents are afraid to talk about Putin’s policy in Ukraine.

“If two people, three or more people start discussing that Putin is taking the country in the wrong direction, it will definitely be recorded and reported to Putin,” Milov said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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