Staunton, Jan. 10 – In an imperial culture like Russians, people view territorial acquisitions as investments, Yury Khristenzen says. They are quite prepared to “tolerate difficulties and deprivations now” for the sake of new lands; “but woe to the tsar who requires them to pay a lot but adds little land. Such unsuccessful ‘investors’ are regularly overthrown.”
What that means, the Russian commentator says, is that Russian support for Putin’s war is predicated on the idea that the losses they are suffering will have a return in the form of new lands added to the empire but that such support will quickly dissolve if Russians can’t see territorial gains as losses mount (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=63BA432970523).
That conclusion becomes obvious if one reads social media where support for the war is gradually ebbing as ever more Russians conclude that they are being asked to sacrifice without much possibility of territorial gain. And that in turn suggests that if the Kremlin could get Kyiv to agree to a frozen conflict, that would ultimately be disastrous for Putin and his clique.
But if losses mount and the war touches ever more Russians where they live as it were, Khristenzen says, ever more of them will turn on the authors of that war, first by seeking reliable information by turning to other sources than official media and then openly opposing those who failed to get a return on this investment.
The commentator implies that the Kremlin is very much aware of all this and that this is one of the most powerful reasons why having begun its aggressive actions, it will continue them until it can show some real territorial gains. If it doesn’t get them, the powers that be know that their days are numbered.