The question for planning purposes is “Now what?” (deliberate capital W, by the way)
I would say these things don’t happen in a vacuum. The initial bet is that this has been that this has been coordinated with SOME of the major oligarchs. They are only going to put up with losing their yachts and taking commercial hits for so long.
It will be difficult or impossible that the only hope for Putin, which is his military support (if any), will not be in a position to withdraw from the west and recover by moving west, even IF the Russian ground forces were loyal… what indications they are the complete opposite.
It would seem that the “how” of this, as in how a convicted felon/hot dog vendor/cook put together this program, is secondary to the “what if he makes it?”
I would go on to suggest that characterizations of this effort as equating it to two mob families fighting for control of New York, so to speak, is too simplistic.
1. Prigozhin looks for the cash. Apparently Vlad has a couple hundred billion lying around and he wants them. What self-respecting budding dictator doesn’t want the money?
2. You are likely to recognize that Ukraine is not going anywhere. He can withdraw all Russian forces from the occupied territories (including Crimea), which Zelenskyy will probably allow under certain circumstances. He can rebuild his army in the next few years and then try again.
So to speak.
3. You can blame the entirety of this debacle on Putin and his leadership. He can easily sell this. In fact, it’s an easier sell than Girl Scout Cookies.
4. For one thing, Prigozhin doesn’t seem like the most stable guy. But he’s willing to trade, and someone around him may be selling him the idea that he can be hailed as some kind of hero.
BUT, if he seizes power… he orders a withdrawal from Ukraine… He rounds up the Russian military leaders and, well, eliminates them… While also rounding up the troops… including Putin… who are accused of war. crimes and hands them over for war crimes trials… He enters reparations negotiations to repair the damage done to Ukraine… he can actively begin Russia’s appearance of rehabilitation.
However, even though I was born on a Saturday, it was not the LAST Saturday. That’s the best case.
But I also don’t think Prigozhin has a death wish.
To take Moscow and then not change anything is simply not possible.
This seems to be no different than a cook on an aircraft carrier taking control of the 7th Fleet. Is Prigozhin the dog or just the tail?
If Prigozhin takes control of Moscow? How could he not retaliate/retaliate politically if for no other reason than to consolidate that control?
Stalin provided what, for Stalin, was a reasonably successful playbook. What has changed? Why not follow him now?