After a chaotic weekend, I'm starting to comprehend why Russia's national bird is an eagle with two heads that are facing in opposite directions.
The first thing Yevgeny Prigozhin says is that he is prepared to "go all the way" in his rebellion against the Russian military. Then, in an abrupt U-turn, he tells his Wagner fighters to return to base.
The rebellion is described as "a criminal adventure... a grievous crime... treason... blackmail and terrorism" by President Vladimir Putin in a speech on television. But only a few hours later, it's revealed that the Wagner leader's criminal charges are all being dropped as part of a deal with Prigozhin.
Never mind "grievous crime.".
The Kremlin leader's contradictory statements have raised questions in this country and altered opinions of President Putin.
Owner and editor-in-chief of Nezavisimaya Gazeta Konstantin Remchukov says, "He definitely looks weaker.".
"You can't publicly accuse someone of being a criminal and then, later that day, have your press secretary disagree with you and say, "No, they haven't broken the law. '".
Andrei Nechaev, a former economic development minister in Russia, makes a similar argument.
Mr. Nechaev claims in a post on social media that "the law has no more influence. Political expediency prevents the prosecution of even serious crimes. You might be accused of betraying the country in the morning. You can be pardoned and the criminal charges against you can be dropped in the evening.
"The nation is undeniably on the verge of significant change. ".
Bold prediction: big change. A deal may have been reached and the mutiny may have been put an end, but if change is on the horizon, could the Wagner rebellion be the catalyst? The fact that the uprising took place under Mr. Putin's watch, who is also in charge of the Russian armed forces, is embarrassing for the president.
Additionally, bear in mind that Mr. Putin's current presidential term expires in 2019.
According to Mr. Remchukov, "all elite groups will now start thinking about the 2024 presidential election.". "They'll contemplate whether or not to continue putting their trust in Vladimir Putin, as they had done up until this military takeover.
Or ought they to consider a fresh face who is equipped to solve issues in a more modern way?
The Russian elite rarely speaks openly about "someone new" running for the presidency. That does not imply that the Kremlin will soon change leadership. Vladimir Putin has mastered the art of political survival if there is anything he has learned in his 23 years in power.
However, his choice to start the full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year has led to a great deal of instability in his own nation, including economic issues, drone attacks on Russian regions, shelling of Russian border regions close to Ukraine, cross-border incursions by saboteur groups, and now Wagner's armed uprising.
The pressure on the Kremlin leader increases as a result of all of this.
But don't count on President Putin to admit that he was mistaken. It's not his style to acknowledge errors and miscalculations.
An indication of the Russian president's next move may have been provided by the most recent episode of the network's premier Sunday night news program. The presenter played a clip from an old Putin interview while covering the Wagner uprising.
Are you able to pardon?
"Yes. However, not all of it. ".
What won't you let go of?
I'm curious if Yevgeny Prigozhin was present.