Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Tactically, Putin Might be Winning but Strategically His Plans are Doomed, Stanovaya Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 18 – Ever more articles in the Western media are suggesting that Ukraine is now losing the war, that time is on Putin’s side, and that, as the Kremlin leader has often suggested, “everything is taking place as planned,” Tatyana Stanovaya says. This reaction may be understanding but it is too short-term in its perspective.

            The Russian commentator who writes frequently about politics in her homeland and who founded the R.Politics analysis group offers three reasons for her conclusion (polit.ru/articles/konspekty/tatyana-stanovaya-o-nyneshney-situatsii/):

            First of all, Stanovaya says, it is extremely unlikely that Putin’s expectations that Ukraine is going to capitulate will happen anytime soon. To be sure, the West may be getting tired as he hoped, “but for him too time is not infinite.” And consequently, Putin doesn’t have all the time in the world to achieve his goals. Strategically, “his plan is doomed.”

            Second, despite Western weariness, even if Russia should win in the short run and the war end on his terms, Russia will have to live in a world almost all of whose leaders are going to be hostile to it. No new Trumps are likely to emerge, and consequently, any Russian victory will be at best pyrrhic.

            And third, the war in Ukraine is exhausting Russia. And the longer it lasts, the more exhausted it will leave Russia. That is an enormous price and it will ultimately force changes in the Russian regime because of changes in society. Putin isn’t “eternal,” and other Rusisans will eventually play more significant roles.

            In the short term, that might lead to even more aggressive behavior, but in the longer term, it will likely mean the emergence in Moscow of a regime “more pragmatic and not so focused on the missionary salvation” of those around Russia that Putin has put at the center of his policies.

            If this is taken into account, Stanovaya says, “Ukraine and the West must understand that they too need to be patient and prepare for the long term. That is the reality of the present, and it will not necessarily mean a victory for Putin.”

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