Doesn’t that have to be one of the best headlines of all time? A competition the 1930s for the best possible headline was won by “Archduke Franz Ferdinand Found Alive; War fought by mistake.”
Joakim heads the Russia analysis team at FE, the Danish Defence Intelligence Service. For security reasons he is not allowed to present himself in photos or using his last name. This is the man who leads Danish intelligence gathering on President Putin, the Russian army and Russian society. …
In his estimate, one of the factors that triggered the biggest war in Europe since World War Two was likely the medication that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was taking at the time.
“Delusions of grandeur are one of the known side effects of the type of hormone treatment that he was on,” Joakim states. …
The intelligence service, FE, originally thought the Russians would win the war in two weeks. “And they were close,” he says. FE were fully aware of major problems in the Russian army with corruption, mismanagement and slow logistics. But the Russians were fully aware of this themselves and so were able to make the necessary adjustments. This isn’t why the invasion failed.
Delusions and micro-management:
Today it is evident that the key unknown factor was Putin’s poor decision-making.
“We put a lot of the blame for this on Putin’s shoulders,” Joakim says.
It wasn’t poor intelligence but Putin’s ideological convictions that led Russian soldiers to believe they would be greeted with flowers.
It was because of Putin that everything was planned by a narrow circle of people and only shared through the ranks at the very last minute. Because of this, the Russian forces simply did not know what they were supposed to be doing. …
Putin still appears to be interfering in the war far too low down the chain of command. Shortly before Christmas he took part in a meeting with the entire staff of command from the war in Ukraine.
“That’s the worst idea in the world,” Joakim explains. “He has a general to lead this war. So he shouldn’t be sitting there getting input from all these other generals.” …
In spite of Putin’s many poor decisions, the Danish Defence Intelligence Service does not see any immediate risk of him being removed from power. In its annual report from 2021, FE stated that Putin would “very likely” still be Russia’s leader after the next presidential elections in 2024.
“But our biggest uncertainty concerns his health, or someone removing him because of his failing health,” Joakim says. …
Thousands of people on social media have commented, with hope, on Putin being seen at various times limping across Red Square, clinging to his desk, or with some apparent weakness in his right arm. FE does not believe that Putin is suffering from a terminal illness but rather is in serious chronic pain following several falls and accidents. Joakim does not want to say precisely what has happened or reveal the source of his information. But it doesn’t just come from studying videos on social media. …
“This is chronic pain that he has suffered from for quite some time now,” says Joakim. “That’s why he tends to sit and grab things tightly. It’s to ease the pain.”
At the same time, FE believes that Putin previously had a form of cancer, and that he was having treatment for this when he started the war, which may have influenced his decision.
“He also had a moon-shaped face at the start of the year, which is another known side effect of the same type of hormone treatment,” Joakim says.
In the spring, the Russian investigative media outlet Projekt published an extensive story on the doctors who have attended to Putin over the years. Judging from the doctors who have seen him most frequently, Projekt concluded that Putin may have had cancer of the thyroid. FE does not expect Putin to die from this illness.
That would explain why Putin so miscalculated. Almost no on believed reports before the war that he would invade, because it seemed so stupid, especially given the inadequate Russian troop numbers on the border.
In WWII, the Allies decided not to try to assassinate Hitler because they recognized that his delusions and micro-management of the war made Hitler an asset for the Allies.
Now for some fiction: