Condoleezza Rice Tells Fox News She Considered ‘Ruse’ Theory of Wagner Coup – But It Gives Putin ‘Too Much Credit’ (Video)

“You wouldn’t stage something that makes you look so weak,” the former secretary of state says to Dana Perino

Don’t feel bad, even Condoleezza Rice thought it – could the stalled Wagner Group coup in Russia have been just a Putin psy-op?

The former secretary of state appeared Monday on “America’s Newsroom,” where Fox News host Dana Perino asked the President Bush appointee whether the tales coming out of Moscow could have been nothing more than a Vladimir Putin plan to razzle-dazzle … someone.

“A few people suggested maybe this was all a ruse, that maybe Putin planned all this,” Perino said. “What do you think of that?”

Clearly, Rice had already thought this through.

“Well, I think it probably gives him too much credit,” she responded. “I at one point I thought, could this be staged? But you wouldn’t stage something that makes you look so weak, because really, dictators, authoritarians, rest on three principles: One, is there has to be fear in the population. Secondly, you have to look invincible. Third, there can be no alternatives. Well, this has exploded all of those for Putin.”

Reports coming out of Russia this weekend suggested that infamous privateer Yevgeny Prigozhin had led his Wagner Group mercenaries on a mutiny mission that stalled as Moscow was fortifying its defenses. Prigozhin was apparently calling for the ouster of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, whose status remained uncertain Monday, while Prigozhin scuffled off to Belarus in a hasty deal with Putin.

Rice suggested that the private Wagner Group’s apparent turn – and subsequent about-face – has inflicted an even deeper wound on Putin and his war, especially when it comes to controlling the narrative within Russia.

“It also has exploded his myth that the Ukrainian special military operation could take place without any effect on Russia, without any effect on the Russian population, and that it was a just and necessary war,” she said. “Probably the most damaging thing about this is that Prigozhin said what has been unspoken by those who have supported the war, that this is actually a war that did not have to take place where hundreds of thousands of Russians did not have to die, where a million people didn’t have to flee the country. That, to me, is the most damaging thing that Prigozhin has done.”

Watch the entire segment in the video above.