https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/rick-moran/2022/03/31/u-s-intelligence-believes-putin-has-been-misinformed-about-russian-armys-performance-in-ukraine-n1585779

One of the big disadvantages of autocracies is that the same fear that’s effective in keeping people in line in times of peace is a liability in times of war.

“With regard to President Putin, look, what I can tell you is this, and I said this before, one of the Achilles’ heels of autocracies is that you don’t have people in those systems who speak truth to power or who have the ability to speak truth to power,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Algiers on Wednesday. “And I think that is something that we’re seeing in Russia.”

Few of Putin’s inner circle of advisors are rushing to fill him in on some of the less successful aspects of his war in Ukraine. They suspect that Putin is disregarding the “don’t kill the messenger” admonition. Not that Putin is having his advisors executed, although some top intelligence officials have been arrested. It’s just that those advisors in the inner circle may not remain in the inner circle for long if they bring Putin bad news.

New York Times:

Other American officials have said that Mr. Putin’s rigid isolation during the pandemic and willingness to publicly rebuke advisers who do not share his views have created a degree of wariness, or even fear, in senior ranks of the Russian military. Officials believe that Mr. Putin has been getting incomplete or overly optimistic reports about the progress of Russian forces, creating mistrust with his military advisers.

Mr. Putin seemed genuinely unaware that the Russian military had been using conscripts in Ukraine, and that drafted soldiers were among those killed in action, according to the U.S. officials. Mr. Putin’s ignorance showed “a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president,” according to a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the declassified, but still sensitive, material. There “is now persistent tension” between Mr. Putin and the Defense Ministry, the official said.

U.S. intelligence also believes Putin is being misinformed or misled by his advisors on the effect of sanctions on the Russian economy. If the reports can be trusted, Vladimir Putin is being ill-served by those in his inner circle.

And that includes his long-time crony and trusted ally Sergei Shoigu, the Minister of Defense. Putin and Shoigu had been allies and friends since the beginning of Putin’s reign. As recently as last year, they vacationed together.

Related: Volodymyr Zelenskyy Shows How to End a Russian Invasion With 1 Weird Trick

But Shoigu has apparently been sugarcoating his reports on the war all along and failed to inform his boss about the quality of troops that were deployed in Ukraine.

Mr. Putin seemed genuinely unaware that the Russian military had been using conscripts in Ukraine, and that drafted soldiers were among those killed in action, according to the U.S. officials. Mr. Putin’s ignorance showed “a clear breakdown in the flow of accurate information to the Russian president,” according to a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the declassified, but still sensitive, material. There “is now persistent tension” between Mr. Putin and the Defense Ministry, the official said.

Perhaps Shoigu believed he was untouchable. This is not the case, as Putin has shelved Shoigu for the time being. One would expect that Shoigu will either lose his job or be demoted after the fighting stops.

The actions — or inactions — of Putin’s most trusted advisors must have come as a shock to the Russian president. You can be sure by the time Putin is ready to invade his next country, he’ll have ironed out the kinks in his war machine and the military will perform much better.

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