Saturday, August 6, 2022

Putin Could Reverse Course, End War in Ukraine and Become Even Stronger, Abbasov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 1 – Many people are convinced that Vladimir Putin has no choice but to continue his war in Ukraine because any other policy would signal a failure not only of that policy but of his regime as such and that in turn would lead to its serious weakening or even collapse, Abbas Gallyamov says.

            But there is another way to look at the situation, the former Putin speech writer, says and it is this: Putin could declare victory in some sense, reverse course, and as a result become even more popular and thus stronger at home while opening the way for improved relations with other countries (

            And while the chance that Putin will do so may remain small especially if he is convinced that he is winning more than losing by his current approach, it is greater than many expect and should be considered because it provides insights into the basic foundations of Putin’s rule and how those would be strengthened by such a dramatic shift.

            If the situation in Ukraine gets worse and the war becomes more unpopular, Putin could gain by turning on the hawks and condemning them for being “dizzy with success” much as Stalin did when he slowed the pace of collectivization, Abbasov says. The earlier Soviet dictator didn’t change his underlying direction but he did gain support.

            By taking such a step, Putin would demonstrate once again that he is the master of the situation; and it is even possible, the commentator continues, that Putin could run in 2024 on a platform declaring that he intends to pursue normalization rather any new radical moves, something that would give him even more support than he has now.

            Such a radical change of course as George Orwell argued in 1984 and as Lenin showed in the course of his career are neither as unusual or impossible as many think. Instead, they are a demonstration of power and occasions for those at the top to recast the system to their own advantage.

             Of course, these changes are not without risk: they might not bring the desired result. But they could be useful especially if as some have suggested in the past, Putin wants to change his image from being a warrior to being “a wise elder” and especially if a deteriorating situation in Ukraine forces him to conclude that making such a change is to his benefit and even survival.


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