Russia is failing on the battlefield in Ukraine, and while fighting in Ukraine is but one aspect of Putin’s war with the West, Russia's president is losing face with his military - and that brings his longevity into question. While it may not be a definitive defeat, losing such large swathes of territory to the Ukrainians in Donbas will be hard to recover from, reputationally. So far, Putin’s answer is to fire yet another general who has only been in command of the Kharkiv region for three weeks.
For all the bluster about the West failing to collapse Russia economically with sanctions, if Putin loses on the battlefield, he will lose at home, and all the oil and gas price caps in the world won’t matter. Nor will the massive troll factories trying to decimate the West from the inside with influential bots.
As the commander-in-chief of the Russian military, this is Putin’s defeat, and he will not be able to mask the mounting death toll or the territorial losses from the public entirely. The Ukrainians are fighting for their country. The Russians are fighting for fear of their commander-in-chief in many respects; and in other respects, they are in disagreement with their commander-in-chief's management of this war, yet have no recourse to act tactically or strategically. That leaves a gap in command that is incapable of effectively responding to Ukrainian shifts in strategy - the kind that allowed it to retake Kharkiv.