Has Putin mentally deteriorated?

I recognize (not read) the last word as “tovarich” so I’m guessing it is less than complimentary towards ToG.

“Keep it up”, I believe

“старина” is as close as I can get to “old chap”.

A very likely successor – and indeed the guy who is rumoured to be put in charge if and when Putin undergoes surgery – and is also rumoured to already be in day-to-day control of the country while Putin focuses more directly on the war – is Nikolai Patrushev. Patrushev is an extreme hardliner who engineered and encouraged the Ukraine invasion. Like Putin, he’s also an ex-KGB chief and is currently head of the Russian Security Council. If anyone might be even worse than Putin, it would be Patrushev.

I’m not so sure he would enjoy the support of the Russian population that Putin’s engineered. Being worse than him (I can’t think how that could happen, although Putin’s forces have shown their depravity knows no depths) could have lots of negative outcomes other than the boomerang effects, like Ukraine joining the EU and Finland NATO.

I’m no expert but there does seem to be some sort of failure of logical and critical thinking on Putin’s part. For someone who wants NATO to not be a threat, he certainly doesn’t seem to be doing things to promote a non-aggressive or relaxed NATO. It seems as though he is deliberately trying to heat things up.

It’s a cosmological game of chicken. In his mind, there is, will be, has got to be, some point at which the weak, decadent, unmanly, comfort-loving risk-averse West will crack before Russia’s barechested studly DGAF fearsomeness, and NATO and the EU and the West-centered order will fall apart, to be replaced by one in which Russia will be in its rightful place, feared by all and no one able to challenge them.

That’s actually a really interesting point. During the Falklands war I remember reading an interview with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Secretary of Defense or someone of that nature. He was mentioning the importance of the UK fighting that war as it was necessary to demonstrate to the USSR that the west wasn’t weak and decadent as the USSR believed.

And recent history of the previous 30 years should demonstrate that the west is not afraid to go to war.

And they’ve also demonstrated just how futile going to war usually is. Most world leaders have a bad case of “This time it will be different.”

I’m sure it’s been said before but Putin strikes me as someone who would take steroids. We may be seeing the result of it in his mental and physical decline.

I’m no pacifist, but this is true.

It’s also true that, even in non-futile wars, most of the battles do nothing to secure the eventual war outcome.

But I’d also say it is extremely difficult to know in advance which were the few wars and battles it would have been disasterous to avoid.

P.S. Sorry for going off-topic. I think it impossible to answer the thread question. Putin reportedly wasn’t a high performing individual even way back when he was in the KBG.

I’d say the most obvious evidence of Putin’s mental decline is he relied on and trusted TFG.

If you limit recruitment to high-performing, stable, adversary assets, you’ll probably recruit no one. I suspect that only in spy novels is the recruit the enemy’s best of the best.