(NewsNation) — As the war in Ukraine continues, militia groups in Russia are at odds, leaving some to suggest there’s a possibility the country might be facing a civil war.
Russia’s Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization, has been on the front lines of fighting in Ukraine throughout the conflict. But as the fighting drags on, leaders in Moscow have begun sidelining the group’s leader.
At the same time, Russia’s state-owned energy company has been given the go-ahead to create its own security force, leading to speculation that another paramilitary group will emerge. Ramzan Kadyrov, ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin and leader of Chechnya, has also said he wants to create his own private militia.
National security and global affairs expert Laura Ballman said the fact that the drama is playing out publicly works against the idea that it’s a calculated move from Putin.
“Until recently, one might assess that this is actually Vladimir Putin, so sowing divisions behind the scenes in order to keep his own power,” she said.
But attempts like that, she told NewsNation, usually play out behind the scenes.
As for Putin’s position, Ballmer said there are factors that could raise doubts for the president as he continues to try to achieve victory in what he intended to be a short and decisive conflict that has now gone on for nearly a year.
“We’ve already lost 200,000 soldiers. I’ve already started emptying the prisons, the men of fighting age who I need have fled,” Ballmer said, outlining how Putin might be thinking.
At the same time, though, that information could also serve as reassurance that any opposition would have difficulty starting a revolution and civil war within Russia.
“These are the same young men who probably would at least be the muscle for a revolution,” she said.