Putin is trapped in a closed world of his own making, Western spies believe

London, March 20 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin is trapped in a closed world of his own making, Western spies believe and that worries themd.
For years they have sought to get inside Putin’s mind, to better understand his intentions, the BBC said in a report.
There has been speculation that Russia’s leader was ill, but many analysts believe he has actually become isolated and closed off to any alternative views.
His isolation has been evident in pictures of his meetings, such as when he met President Emmanuel Macron. The leaders were seated at far ends of a long table.
It was also evident in Putin’s meeting with his own national security team on the eve of the war.
Putin’s initial military plan looked like something devised by a KGB officer, one western intelligence official explains, the BBC reported.
It had been created, they say, by a tight “conspiratorial cabal” with an emphasis on secrecy. But the result was chaos. Russian military commanders were not ready and some soldiers went over the border without knowing what they were doing.
“The challenge of understanding the Kremlin’s moves is that Putin is the single decision-maker in Moscow,” explains John Sipher, who formerly ran the CIA’s Russia operations.
Putin, intelligence officials say, is isolated in a bubble of his own making, which very little outside information penetrates, particularly any which might challenge what he thinks.
“He is a victim of his own propaganda in the sense that he only listens to a certain number of people and blocks out everything else. This gives him a strange view of the world,” says Adrian Furnham, a professor of psychology and co-author of a forthcoming book “The Psychology of Spies and Spying”.
The risk is what is called “group think” in which everyone reinforces his view.
“If he’s a victim of group think we need to know who the group is,” the BBC quoted Prof Furnham as saying.
The circle of those Putin talks to has never been large but when it came to the decision to invade Ukraine, it had narrowed to just a handful of people, Western intelligence officials believe, all of those “true believers” who share Putin’s mindset and obsessions.

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