Mark Galeotti

Mark Galeotti

Mark Galeotti heads the consultancy Mayak Intelligence and is honorary professor at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and the author of over 25 books on Russia. His latest, Putin’s Wars: From Chechnya to Ukraine, is out now.

Is the Russian murder machine ramping up?

Are we witnessing a new and more dangerous stage in the indirect war between Russia and the West? The news that Moscow’s agents may have been planning to assassinate European defence industrialists suggests they are escalating their covert operations abroad, which demands a quick and serious response. German and US intelligence sources are claiming that

Why the plot to kill Putin would be a mistake

Is the assassination of Vladimir Putin the answer to ending the war in Ukraine? A collection of émigré Russians who have declared themselves the ‘Congress of People’s Deputies’ and a Russian parliament in opposition have called for the West not only to support them in a campaign to overthrow Vladimir Putin, but actively to play

The myth and memory of Yevgeny Prigozhin

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s mutiny, when his Wagner mercenaries seized the city of Rostov-on-Don and sent a flying column of several men towards Moscow. You would scarcely know it, though, because while Russian social media is full of discussion, eulogies and conspiracy theories, the state-controlled press is largely pretending this never

Who are the Russian NHS hackers?

What do you do if you’re a modern state and need extra capacity in a hurry? You outsource. And if you’re also a kleptocracy, to whom can you turn for this? Criminals. It’s not clear whether Qilin, the Russian hacker group behind the recent attack on NHS suppliers is run, encouraged, or simply given a

Why is Putin still so desperate for western validation?

Everyone loves Russia, or at least echoes its talking points – if you believe the country’s state media. Why should it be so important for Vladimir Putin, who tries to appear impervious to foreign criticism, to magnify any seemingly supporting words? It underlines a centuries-old insecurity at the heart of Russia There was a distinct

Why is Putin purging his generals?

Five down – how many more to go? As more and more senior Russian officers and defence officials are arrested on corruption charges, the rumour mill is in full spin as it cranks out claims that this is everything from a purge of potential coup plotters to a Federal Security Service (FSB) takeover of the

What the Shoigu reshuffle means for Putin’s war machine

There was an expectation that the appointment of Vladimir Putin’s new government would see some change in the Russian security apparatus, but few predicted that Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu would be replaced by an economist, Andrey Belousov, with Shoigu becoming secretary of the Security Council. With an economist taking over the defence ministry, and the

Why Russia’s ‘king of the kickback’ was arrested

The universal corruption of the Russian elite suits Vladimir Putin. When everyone has a skeleton in their closet, power rests with whoever decides which closets get searched. The arrest on corruption charges of Timur Ivanov, deputy minister of defence, is noteworthy not because he was infamously corrupt, but because it raises the question: why him,

Why is Russia jamming plane signals across Europe?

The ‘Baltic Beast’ is at it again. Mysterious – or not so mysterious – GPS signal disruption has become a growing problem for civilian air traffic, not just in the Baltic but also the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. It is clear that Russia is behind it, but why? Airplanes have, while in flight,

How likely is Putin to target the Paris Olympics?

One thing the French seem to be learning (or, given their history, re-learning) is that the Russians are always up for a scrap. A ministerial phone call between the two countries has led to a diplomatic spat such that a stung Emmanuel Macron is now claiming that Moscow plans to target this summer’s Paris Olympics

How Putin will rig the Russian election

Pity the poor political technologists, as Russia’s professionals in the dark arts of spin, propaganda, gerrymandering and outright ballot box stuffing are known. They are not only expected to produce the exact expected election result – that’s the easy bit, when you control the count – but they are meant to make it look as

Putin wants to talk about Russia’s future, not the war

Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the Federation Council (the upper chamber of the legislature) is rarely an exciting event, but it does provide an opportunity to gauge his mood and assess his priorities. This year’s – the longest yet, at over two hours – was in many ways his stump speech for March’s presidential elections,

Mark Galeotti

Putin’s nuclear doctrine has been revealed

Secret documents have been leaked that reveal Russian scenarios for war games involving simulated nuclear strikes. They shed light on Moscow’s military thinking and its nuclear planning in particular, but ultimately only reinforce one key factor: if nuclear weapons are ever used, it will be a wholly political move by Putin. The impressive 29 documents

Why Macron won’t send troops to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron does enjoy a good grandstanding. Having once been keen to present himself as a possible bridge-builder with Moscow, he is now suggesting that western troops might go fight in Ukraine – secure in the knowledge that his bluff is unlikely to be called. At a press conference at the end of

The fantastical myths that swirl around Vladimir Putin

If there is one man who is probably happiest that Vladimir Putin’s travel schedule has been so heavily curtailed of late, it is probably the Federal Protection Service officer responsible for ensuring the product of the president’s bathroom breaks return to the Motherland. Foreign powers may, after all, go to extreme lengths to test his

Two years on, the Ukraine war matters more than ever

There are inevitably voices in the West questioning the value of committing more than £5.5 billion a month in support of the war in Ukraine. It looks for now deadlocked at best, and at worst – in light of the recent Russian capture of Avdiivka – a slow defeat. Yet it is important to realise

Expelling the Russian ambassador would be a mistake

Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke for many people horrified by Alexei Navalny’s death in a Russian prison last week when he suggested that the Russian ambassador to the UK ought to be expelled in response. Labour’s David Lammy and the SNP’s Ian Blackford also advocated this back in 2022. This, however, would be a mistake. It’s a

How the West can truly avenge Navalny’s death

With the Kremlin now claiming that it needs to hold on to the body of opposition leader Alexei Navalny for another fortnight for ‘tests’, there is little doubt in the West that Vladimir Putin’s regime was either directly or indirectly to blame. Inevitably, the talk is now of punishing it. Junior Foreign Office minister Leo

What Tucker Carlson gets wrong about Russia

‘I have seen the Future and it works,’ proclaimed leftist American journalist Lincoln Steffens after visiting Bolshevik Russia in 1919. By then, of course, the Cheka, or All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, Profiteering and Corruption, was already summarily executing presumed enemies of the people in droves. Now, conservative pundit Tucker Carlson is admiring Vladimir Putin’s