Elon Musk Takes a Stand on a Leadership Change in Russia

The billionaire has been looking for a solution to end the Russia-Ukraine war.

The war between Russia and Ukraine has dominated world news for nine months. 

This conflict, which started with Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, reflects the relics of the Cold War: the West against the East. 

Western democracies portray it as a fight for freedom against authoritarianism. Ukraine represents democracy and Russia represents tyranny. 

NATO and its allies unsurprisingly support Ukraine, to which they provide considerable aid. Members such as the United States and European countries provide military, financial and logistical aid to the Ukrainian authorities and forces. 

For its part, Russia believes to be defending its sovereignty by recovering Ukrainian regions – Crimea, Donbass – which it considers to be part of its territory.

The Russian president Vladimir Putin had promised to the Russians a rapid war which would result in a quick victory. But nine months later, the Russian position has never been so weakened. 

The Russian army has lost ground over the past six weeks, taken by surprise by the Ukrainian counter-offensive. Putin found himself compelled to launch a general mobilization to enlist new soldiers. Dissident voices about this war now rise in Russia, where Putin had managed to quell all opposition at the start of the war. This consensus now seems to have been shattered.


In Ukraine, the recapture of certain towns from the Russians has galvanized the morale of the troops. With the support of NATO, the country mounts an unexpected resistance to Russia. 

It is in this context that the conflict is escalating.

Facing stubborn Ukrainian resistance fueled by Western military aid, Putin alluded to a nuclear attack in a televised speech on September 21. He said he was ready to use “all weapon systems available” in his arsenal against the West, which he accused of wanting to “destroy” Russia.

“It’s not a bluff,” Putin said.

Ukrainian troops have been on the offensive on all fronts since the beginning of September, and have already recaptured most of the Kharkiv region in the northeast, and important logistical nodes such as Izium, Kupyansk and Lyman (East).

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since [president John] Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” U.S. President Joe Biden said during a fundraiser in New York on October 6.

“We’ve got a guy” — Russian President Vladimir Putin — “I know fairly well. He’s not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons,” the president added.

Musk, who has also warned against the possibility of this conflict turning into World War III with the possible use of nuclear weapons, has just repeated that we have never been so close to a nuclear conflict since the 60s.

“If Russia faced calamitous defeat in conventional warfare for something as strategically critical as Crimea, the probability of using nuclear weapons is high,” the billionaire warned on October 21.

The tech tycoon, who has been a great Ukrainian supporter, added that “this is the closest we’ve been since Cuba in ‘62.”

Removing Putin

A Twitter user asked him what would happen if Putin, the architect of this war, was removed from power or died suddenly.

“What do you think, what’s going to happen if Putin is removed from power/dies before the end of the war?” the user asked.

“Those who want Putin removed are laboring under the misapprehension that whoever replaces him will be more amenable to peace or western philosophy,” the billionaire responded.

He continued: “But I think this is unlikely – the Kremlin is not the Nice Guy Olympics.”

Basically, Musk believes it’s not really a problem of an individual but of a system. Whether under Putin or someone else, Russian foreign policy will not change.

He consequently suggests that those in the West who think otherwise are mistaken. He draws a parallel to the Olympic Games, a competition which is often perceived as a marketing operation of the host country. 

Like any marketing operation, the Olympic Games are an opportunity for the organizing country to show itself in its best light. 

Russia hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014.

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