It has been reported this week that Vladimir Putin is shifting responsibility for covert operations in Ukraine to a different intelligence agency.
The Fifth Service of the Federal Security Service (FSB) has now reportedly been usurped by ‘military intelligence’ – still widely known by its old acronym of GRU, but actually called the GU, the main directorate of the general staff. Lt Gen. Vladimir Alekseev, first deputy head of the GU, is now expected to take over Russia’s intelligence capabilities in Ukraine.
To some this is evidence of inter-agency conflict and the decline of the FSB inside the Kremlin’s walls. But it is more likely that Putin is simply digging in for a long war.
It’s fair to say that Vladimir Putin isn’t prone to introspection.