Saturday, August 30, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Putin Needs ‘Not Victory but War Itself,’ Kruglyakovsky Says

Paul Goble


            Staunton, August 30 – Vladimir Putin’s decision to move toward a full-scale invasion of Ukraine shows that he “has no other levers and resources” to achieve his will than to send in his soldiers, but it also reflects the fact that what the Kremlin leader needs is “not victory but war itself,” according to Kyiv political analyst Pavel Kruglyakovsky.


            That allows him to keep the situation unstable and others off balance and to give him the kind of freedom of action that he desires, although he has passed the point not only where he can maintain that situation but also where he must face the fact that this is “the beginning of the end” of his regime (


            “By entering into a direct military conflict with Ukraine,” the analyst says, “Putin is committing a fatal mistake” because he will not be able to escape from the current situation “without losing face,” something that he will do everything he can to avoid but that the strength of Ukrainian forces will make impossible.


            “The Russian army is far from as powerful as the majority of people in Russia itself think,” Kruglyakovsky argues. “Russia today is a colossus with feet of clay … the level of corruption in Kremlin offices is an order higher than in Ukrainian ones … And when generals steal, the men in the ranks suffer.”


            “Today everything shows that the Russian army is not so terrible and undefeatable as [Kremlin propagandist] Dmitry Kiselyev suggests in his programs.  This fact is beginning to be recognized in Kyiv; soon they will understand it in Moscow as well. The zinc caskets are already beginning to arrive in the depths of Russia.”


            Kryuglyakovsky is certain, Novy region says, that Putin cannot win a military victory in Ukraine because “a fatherland war [which is what Ukraine is fighting] is by its internal energy always stronger than the need ‘to fulfill one’s international duty’” especially in the case of a 40-million-strong nation that is prepared to sacrifice itself for its freedom.


            “How many military capable units can Putin send against the army of Ukrainians?” the analyst asks. “Even today [the Kremlin leader] is having to deceive his troops by saying that he sending them on ‘manuevers.’” And that raises an even more fundamental question: “does the Russian president need a victory in the classical sense?”


            “What would he do with the Donbas where all the infrastructure has already been destroyed by the hands of [his own] terrorists? Putin does not need ‘Novorossiya.’ Rather he needs” something else: “unstable Luhansk and Donets oblasts” within the borders of Ukraine not of Russia.


            In short, “Putin needs not victory but war itself,” Kryuglyakovsky concludes, and one that he will pursue by constantly changing the slogans and stated goals in the hopes that he can intimidate some and keep others off-balance as he searches for a way out for himself from the disaster he has caused.


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