Staunton, Jan. 6 – As the war in Ukraine drags on, Tatyana Stanovaya says, Vladimir Putin is becoming ever more dependent on the Russian military and the militarization of Russian society is becoming an ever more prominent feature of Russian life. Putin himself is uncomfortable with both trends, especially as he feels he has lost the initiative.
The question thus arises, the Russian analyst suggests, whether Putin can break with either of these two trends and whether if he tries, the military will be in a position to block him from doing do. Clearly, if the war does not end, the Kremlin leader will have little chance to do so; but how it ends may affect Putin’s future moves (realtribune.ru/vozrosla-zavisimost-putina-ot-rossijskih-voennyh-politolog).
If Russia wins, the military at least for a time will be difficult to expel from its current prominence and militarization will thus likely continue; but if Russia loses, the military will be discredited but so too will Putin who made the decision to go to war in the first place – and reducing the military’s influence may be possible only at the cost of a decline of his own.
Putin is thus trapped in a situation he created but that has evolved in ways he did not anticipate; and all his goals for how he wants to cement his reputation in Russian history are not linked to the performance of people that he isn’t entirely comfortable with and whose success or failure may very well be beyond his ability to decide.