A former speechwriter to Russian President Vladimir Putin now living in Israel told Israeli media on Sunday that if Putin “knew what was going to happen” after invading Ukraine, “he never would have done this.”
Abbas Gallyamov’s family resided in Israel for four years while he traveled to Russia to work as a speechwriter and consultant, but he now lives permanently in Israel.
Putin, he said to Israel Can Streamer“is ready to stop” the invasion, but “he needs a trophy to present to the Russian general public and Russian elites”.
Gallyamov said Putin believed his invasion of Ukraine would be swift and decisive, and completed in “two or three days”, after which he would be able to impose a puppet government.
The Russian president, he added, “understands that he got into trouble, and he certainly wasn’t counting on it.”
Moreover, Gallyamov said, the main motive for the invasion had “nothing to do with Ukraine, the United States or NATO”, but with Putin’s waning national popularity.
“His grades have gone down over the last three or four years,” he said, “and the feelings of protest are growing, and Putin is going to face serious problems.”
This, he added, prompted Putin to go to war in hopes of a “rally around the flag effect” that would bolster his popularity.
Asked about Israel’s recent diplomatic moves to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv – including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s weekend visit to Russia, where he met Putin personally – Gallyamov said that while the Russian leader is ready to listen to reason, “it’s definitely only the Israeli Prime Minister who can deliver him.
“We all know that of all the countries in the first world, of all the democratic countries, Israel has the best relations with Russia,” he explained. “And Putin really treats Israel differently. … So if there’s anything in general that can help the West and Russia find common ground, then it’s through Israel.