In today's reality, Putin has driven himself into a situation that develops when playing chess: a zugzwang.
There are no good options, so he needs to either raise the stakes or start preparing his people for the fact that not only will there be no victory, there will also be no other things. However, this is already a kind of special operation within the Russian system. They will prepare for this carefully.
The Putin regime measures everything in terms of propaganda, but you can’t put this propaganda into the heads of clans and Kremlin towers so simply. They also really want to survive in this reality, and moreover, they still want to live luxuriously, to use the money they have earned (stolen) in Russia in order to live in Europe and Asia, and certainly not in Russia (they aren’t building themselves palaces in the taiga). Therefore, it is critically important for them what will happen next, because now they have a complete classic failure, and now it will have to be covered up somehow.
Can they go for removing Putin from power for this?
I don't rule out any possibilities at all. There could be a Khrushchev version or a Balkan version, whatever works. But will they succeed? And the second question: is it beneficial for them?
The system is built in such a way that they will lose everything
For them, everything is laid out according to a prison mindset. That's the mentality that rules there, and it is why many members of the elite cling to Putin, for the system is built in such a way that they will lose everything and they will still be very much overtaken.
Therefore, even now the elites are scaring the West with Prigozhin and Kadyrov, and some kind of armies are emerging that do not know what they will do in a year (or even a month). Like, who will get nuclear weapons. Scare tactics are beloved there, which means that apart from scare tactics, there are not many things left.
In my opinion, everyone needs to prepare to raise the stakes, they need to talk to the Russian clans and tell them that if Putin uses nuclear weapons or escalates, their future is also completely unknown (and most likely will not exist).
Please note that the past week was almost unique in terms of how consistently our rhetoric was carried not only by itself, but also by the West, with the Secretary General of NATO beginning to say that it is possible to reach a direct conflict with Russia, although "we really want to avoid it.” And this is completely new rhetoric.
Three months ago, I said that at some point we will very quickly come to the point that the West will understand that it will be quite difficult to achieve victory without direct participation in this war (though perhaps not militarily). And now this understanding is coming, and the West is starting to raise the stakes.
In a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Joe Biden said that the U.S. wants to end the war and to agree on a just peace, but for this to happen, the Russians have to leave Ukraine, and we’ll come to some kind of agreement. Then we’ll can think about Russia’s future, and perhaps this future will be better than now. If not — and this is a matter of principle, the moment of truth — then we will think on what happens next, and no one will be surrendering.
Look, lately, Olaf Scholz has been saying something Macron will say something similar, and then, to make it clear, the Americans — yes, our Japanese samurai friends, yes, them too. That is, everything is absolutely clear here. And the Americans have shown Russia that they have a strategic new bomber that will cost, perhaps, $700 million, but the Russians certainly won’t see it until the moment when it reaches them. Do the Russians have anything against this? The answer is simple: Russia does not.
While under sanctions, Russia has stopped its development of technology. And those who stop in technological development are worth nothing in the modern world. And having only a nuclear club will end very badly for them, because the world does not want to live together with a monkey with a nuclear club. The world will surely find a way to get rid of both the club and the monkey.
Most Russian clans understand that the use of nuclear weapons would be the end for them. Now they have begun to stir and understand that they need to get out of this situation, since neither Russia in its current form, nor, most importantly, they, can continue existing. Because, whatever Russia may be after, if they are among those who made the decision to use nuclear weapons, then in the future they will certainly be gone. Remember how one Russian author wrote: you know, Petka, there may be a world in which Furmanov is gone, and there may be a world in which you are. So let them read Pelevin at night.