Author Topic: Why the Wagner Group’s mutiny is Xi Jinping’s worst nightmare  (Read 366 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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Radio Free Asia by Chen Pokong 07/05/2023

Nobody turned up to defend Moscow or Putin, and the same scenario would play out in China.

At the end of last month, Russia's Wagner Group grabbed international headlines as the drama of its short-lived mutiny played out on screens around the world.

Faced with the threat of violent rebellion, Putin – a strongman who has ruled Russian politics with a rod of iron for 23 years – was pushed into the humiliating position of seeking reconciliation to end this challenge to his authority.

All of this has ramifications for Beijing, for the Chinese leadership in Zhongnanhai, and for Xi Jinping himself.

First of all, the rebellion took place against the backdrop of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Similarly, it is possible that if Xi Jinping were to launch a military invasion of Taiwan, that the People's Liberation Army wouldn't be totally obedient.

Even more so than Russia's, China's army will likely be made up of only children from the poorest backgrounds who could leave things in disarray when they are asked to bear up under the huge psychological pressure of modern warfare and amid widespread official corruption.

As soon as that war starts going badly, the likelihood of mutiny or a military coup will rise.

Secondly, Prigozhin was an old friend and confidant of Putin's going back more than 30 years. Prigozhin personally led his troops on the front lines, taking part in a nasty and difficult war, where he was basically Putin's man on the ground. But all that changed when it started to look as if there was no hope of victory.

Like Putin, Xi Jinping is a strongman ruler, whose faction consolidated its ruling position after a fierce struggle for power at the 20th party congress in October 2022.

This means that any future challenge to Xi must come from within his own faction. This is how things tend to go, both in terms of human nature, and historical outcomes.

Xi Jinping has no way to defend against that, and can't ever afford to ignore the possibility that there are hidden dangers lurking in the "Xi family army."