Staunton, Feb. 24 – “All military history” shows, Aleksandr Nosovich argues, that “the most disadvantageous outcome” for Moscow of the Russian advance would be “the occupation of Ukraine,” a comment that suggests that even among Vladimir Putin’s cheerleaders, there is growing concern that the conflict may harm Russia far more than anyone expected.
Nosovich, who heads the notoriously pro-Putin and anti-Western RuBaltic.ru portal, says that efforts to occupy Ukraine could prove as disastrous for Russia as American efforts to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq (ia-centr.ru/experts/aleksandrom-nosovich/politolog-rossii-ne-nuzhna-okkupatsiya-ukrainy/).
According to the Russian imperialist, what the West did in Yugoslavia was “more effective for the Americans” and could serve as a model for Russia in Ukraine. Another analogy Moscow should be looking at is the outcome of the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, although who might serve as a mediator for Russia and Ukraine is unclear, Nosovich says.
A Russian victory in Ukraine is not the same thing as the triumph of Russian arms, he continues. Instead, it is to achieve Moscow’s goals, which are the neutralization of Ukraine, the final blocking of any expansion of NATO eastward, and the elimination of any Western military presence in former Soviet republics.
Russia has the resources to continue to fight until it achieves those goals, Nosovich argues. It has large gold and cash reserves; and even if the Russian advance bothers some of Russia’s neighbors, they will have no choice but to continue to cooperate with Moscow economically.
After all, even Ukraine after 2014 saw its economic ties with Russia increase dramatically last year, he says. The same can be expected from all the rest and from the West whatever governments and commentators are suggesting at the present time, the enthusiast for the Russian world says.
It is likely that Nosovich’s words contain within them a double message. On the one hand, it suggests that within the Russian imperialist camp, there are those who see that the occupation of Ukraine would prove counterproductive, costing Russia more than it would benefit Moscow.
But on the other hand, they may be a signal of something else: some in Moscow may now want to find a way out of its current problems, by playing up the idea that it does not really want to occupy Ukraine, something it is in any case finding it very hard to do and would find it even more difficult to sustain.
If the latter, Nosovich’s comment may be a trial balloon directed at Kyiv and the West to undermine the commitment of both by suggesting that Moscow doesn’t really want to annex the entire Ukraine but would be end the war if its “security considerations” were accepted.