As you all know Putin has called up 300,000 reservists to supposedly use in his attempt to destroy Ukraine and made the very thinly veiled threat to use nuclear weapons. Here's an image of the from page of The Washington Post with the stories below.
I feel relief that it is significant that Putin no longer can count on having lapdog Trump in the White House. I wonder who the audience is for this thundering saber rattling. It isn't President Biden and I very much doubt it is President Zelensky. I have the impression that it primarily for home consumption.
I don't think he will have President Zelensky and Ukrainian citizens trembling in fear.
Not only do I strongly doubt Putin would authorize a nuclear attack no matter how limited. It would be figurative and possibly literal suicide for him if this led to an escalation to a nuclear confrontation, or an equally or more destructive retaliation without nuclear weapons on targets in Russia with the West. My hunch is that the West would hold back a nuclear response unless Russia escalated since this could lead incrementally to nuclear Armageddon.
I also have serious doubts whether many of these 300,000 reservists will ever end up on Ukrainian soil. This assumes Russia actually has well-trained reservists to send to the front, or even that he could avoid a revolt within the ranks with soldiers refusing to put their own lives at risk in a battle they are starting to discover they are losing.
I think Putin has taken his strategy from the Trump playbook and totally brainwashed himself into believing that the MAGA movement with the orange delusional messiah as its leader has been all cowboy and no hat because Trump is a weakling who, unlike him, wouldn't have the cojones to even ride a horse let alone do whatever it is he actually did when he was in the KGB.
I wonder who Putin's real enemies not in prison within Russia are. There have been rumblings in the news suggesting that he is losing support among high Russian officials and members of the ruling class. What remains opaque is the extent of dissension among top military leaders, and there is an impenetrable veil over what plots may be in the process of being hatched in the Federal Security Service (the FSB which replaced the KGB).
There could be a coup in the offing. If it was initiated by the military I think Putin might be able to retire to one of his opulent dachas (like this one) but if the FSB decided he could become another Trump exerting power in exile they might decide that terminating his presidency with extreme prejudice was the safer solution.
Putin's self-styled narcissistic imaging was mocked in the British tabloid The Sun:There is no doubt that Putin played Trump like a fiddle recognizing early on how susceptible to flattery he was: