Western intelligence claim Russia’s leader is out of touch. But who has the upper hand in the Kremlin’s jostling factions – and is there a chance of a palace coup?
Even for a leader as cloistered as Vladimir Putin, the torrent of bad news from Ukraine should be impossible to ignore.
The Russian army’s rapid retreat from Kyiv last week has made clear the scale of its failure, leaving behind the bodies of Russian soldiers and the burnt-out carcasses of hundreds of tanks and other military vehicles. The goal of a knockout blow against Kyiv has been abandoned and Russia is facing the toughest sanctions ever enacted against a superpower.