In the last couple of years, former head of the Public Relations Department at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, political expert, professor and historian Valery Solovey has become considerably popular on the internet and outside of it. He is a critic of the Kremlin, but he is also considered an insider - someone with connections in the ruling elite. He tirelessly gives interviews to different bloggers, as well as gives lectures during which he occasionally reveals confidential information related to Russia's domestic and foreign affairs. Some of his predictions regarding political processes have come true, which has undoubtedly increased his popularity, for instance, once he quite accurately predicted personnel shuffles in the Kremlin.
In his own words, he is not a prophet but rather someone who has information on the Kremlin's plans which was acquired thanks to his insider connections. He publishes this information in order to warn the world about impending danger. I will add that sometimes the information he leaks is nothing short of being a state secret, and for this one could expect to be poisoned with Novichok or at least be jailed for at least twenty years.
For example, he leaked information about the secret meeting of January 2020 in Oman between President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and high-ranking Kremlin officials, including head of the Russian Security Council, chekist and the main ideologue of the so-called "power structure bloc" Nikolai Patrushev. Some experts believe this was an attempt to recruit Zelensky. It is impossible to confirm whether this was the case, but you must agree that a meeting between the head of a country and a representative from power structures of an enemy country is rather bizarre. Why didn't Ukraine send a representative of a similar rank to the meeting? What did Russia want to achieve? It is unlikely that this was a recruitment attempt, but rather something else.
At first, it may seem that Mr. Solovey has assumed the role of a martyr, considering what happened to Nemtsov, Navalny and other critics of the Kremlin. Solovey has made it clear that he has connections in the liberal wing of the Kremlin's elites, while adding that Russian politics are not determined by them, but instead the so-called "power structure bloc". It would be naïve to assume that these "liberals" could protect Solovey if the FSB would decide to get rid of him. So maybe Solovey is more beneficial to the Kremlin than he is harmful - perhaps until a certain moment?
If we dive deep into the information Solovey has leaked up until now, we can see that there is nothing particularly harmful - it's actually the other way around. Let's talk about the aforementioned meeting of Zelensky in Oman. It would be foolish to believe that the Russians were able to successfully recruit Zelensky, but it is entirely plausible that they wanted to compromise him. And it seems that they were able to achieve their goal.
Additionally, if Nemtsov and Navalny battled corruption by publishing information concerning the riches amassed by those in and close to the Kremlin - and the Kremlin was forced to respond to this - then Solovey avoids discussing such topics. He occasionally gives some criticism and says something very vague but, most importantly, he maintains continuous suspense. Solovey's interviews regularly feature warnings about impending danger - Russia will at any minute launch war in Ukraine and incorporate Belarus, and the Baltic states are nearby and this will destroy trust in Article 5 of NATO.
He also talks about "crazy" people in the Kremlin who are ready to press the nuclear war button. The professor isn't concerned by the fact that Russia lacks resources to launch full-scale military operations in Ukraine. All this reminds me of the Kremlin's propaganda mouthpieces blabbering about "radioactive ash" and the new military doctrine that foresees the use of tactical nuclear weapons, along with cartoons depicting hypersonic missiles that will destroy the US with a single hit.
Why is such rhetoric necessary? Evidently, in order to keep the West in continuous suspense, i.e. "look at how crazy we are - you better not try to punish us with serious sanctions".
Is Solovey deliberately playing the role of the Kremlin's useful insider, or is he himself unaware of this? I had certain doubts until I came across the recently published interview featuring him and the well-known Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon. During the interview, Gordon asked Solovey a direct question - how is he able to remain safe and healthy when he does what he does and lives in Moscow? Without blinking an eye, Solovey began telling the interviewer about some influential organization, something like a "global government", that everyone fears. He stated that this organization protects him, adding that there have been attempts to poison him with Novichok and hit him in the head with a stick, but this organization was able to warn him in advance.
The full interview can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/vE88hG4FsyE
Interview on the same topic by the aforementioned Ukrainian journalist with former KGB employee Yuri Shvets who emigrated to the US: https://youtu.be/wjMJIUZLJVs