Putin’s thing: not victory – just the war

let-them-eat-cake-or-the-battle-for-donetsk-international-airport-1401204588

 

2014/08/30 • Analysis & Opinion

Vladimir Putin’s decision to move toward a full-scale invasion of Ukraine shows that he “has no other levers and resources” to achieve his will than to send in his soldiers, but it also reflects the fact that what the Kremlin leader needs is “not victory but war itself,” according to an article by Kyiv political analyst Pavel Kruglyakovsky.

That allows him to keep the situation unstable and others off balance and to give him the kind of freedom of action that he desires, although he has passed the point not only where he can maintain that situation but also where he must face the fact that this is “the beginning of the end” of his regime.

“By entering into a direct military conflict with Ukraine,” the analyst says, “Putin is committing a fatal mistake” because he will not be able to escape from the current situation “without losing face,” something that he will do everything he can to avoid but that the strength of Ukrainian forces will make impossible.

“The Russian army is far from as powerful as the majority of people in Russia itself think,” Kruglyakovsky argues. “Russia today is a colossus with feet of clay … the level of corruption in Kremlin offices is an order higher than in Ukrainian ones … And when generals steal, the men in the ranks suffer.

“Today everything shows that the Russian army is not so terrible and undefeatable as [Kremlin propagandist] Dmitry Kiselyev suggests in his programs.  This fact is beginning to be recognized in Kyiv; soon they will understand it in Moscow as well. The zinc caskets are already beginning to arrive in the depths of Russia.”

Kryuglyakovsky is certain, Novy region says, that Putin cannot win a military victory in Ukraine because “a fatherland war [which is what Ukraine is fighting] is by its internal energy always stronger than the need ‘to fulfill one’s international duty’” especially in the case of a 40-million-strong nation that is prepared to sacrifice itself for its freedom.

“How many military capable units can Putin send against the army of Ukrainians?” the analyst asks. “Even today [the Kremlin leader] is having to deceive his troops by saying that he sending them on ‘maneuvers.’” And that raises an even more fundamental question: “does the Russian president need a victory in the classical sense?”

“What would he do with the Donbas where all the infrastructure has already been destroyed by the hands of [his own] terrorists? Putin does not need ‘Novorossiya.’ Rather he needs” something else: “unstable Luhansk and Donets oblasts” within the borders of Ukraine not of Russia.

In short, “Putin needs not victory but war itself,” Kryuglyakovsky concludes, and one that he will pursue by constantly changing the slogans and stated goals in the hopes that he can intimidate some and keep others off-balance as he searches for a way out for himself from the disaster he has caused.

Tags: , ,

  • albertphd

    If Putin needs to ‘save face’ in his takeover of the Ukrainian Crimea and now of “New Russia” (the Donbas area), why not strike a compromise that is in the favor of Ukraine?!
    Follow the example of China, in that China leased Hong Kong to Britain, and Macau to Portugal for so many years.

    Here is a proposal how this lease Agreement could possibly work: Ukraine allows Putin to save face if Putin agrees to lease the Donbas and Crimea until the year 2050 (by then Putin would be dead and so would not need to worry that he ‘failed the glory of the great Russian Empire’). In this interim, Russia would spend their OWN money to rebuild the Donbas and to help Crimea to flourish as an International resort. The International stigma against the Crimea would be lifted and business would flourish (as it did in Hong Kong under British rule). Putin would have his connection to mainland Russia through the Donbas and would save a small fortune in not having to build bridges and to by-pass the Ukrainian Donbas. Economic sanctions against Russia would be lifted and all in all Putin would be seen (by his own people) as a shrewd politician and the savior of Russia!

    So, you ask, if Ukraine offers Crimea and the Donbas to Russia on a legal lease basis for the next 35 years, what benefit is it to Ukraine?!

    The answer should appear obvious: Given 35 years of realignment with NATO and the EU, as well as with the USA (and other countries: Japan, Australia, even China, etc.), the business sector in Ukraine would begin to flourish as never before! But even more beneficial would be the military sector. These 35 years would allow Ukraine to not only rebuild its military weaponry but to rebuild its nuclear capability as well. By the year 2050, Russia would not wish to entangle itself with Ukraine at all and would certainly be obliged to honor this International Lease Agreement between nations–as required by International Law. NATO, EU nations, the USA and other nations could co-sign this Lease Agreement as well to see that it is enforced. (Indeed, an option to renew this lease for a price could be worked into this Lease Agreement so that Putin could silence his current objectors with the possibility that Russia could retain these lands beyond the deadline of 2050!).

    Let us consider the current situation: Putin desperately needs to save face. He bit off more than he could chew and has become stubborn in his refusal to let go of both the Donbas and the Crimea. On the other hand, Ukraine is not receiving the military aid, nor support (only sweet words!) from the EU, NATO and the USA as Ukraine had hoped.

    Consider what happened, for example, to the German port of Konigsberg (which was a German-speaking colony for 12 Centuries). Soviet Russia (now, the Russian Federation) took over the German lands of Konigsberg in 1946 (following the defeat of Nazi Germany in WW II) without any Lease Agreement from Germany. Today, this sea port (vital to Russia) is called: Kaliningrad. If Germany had been able to strike an International Lease Agreement with the Soviets back in 1946, it could be eventually returned to Germany (or with a first option to renew, Russia would be paying Germany a hefty fee to renew its Lease Agreement of Kaliningrad!). Today, however, Germany receives absolutely nothing in compensation for the Russian take over of the German sea port Konigsberg!

    If Ukraine does not work out this compromise with Russia, it is very possible, perhaps even likely, that Ukraine would lose not only the Crimea but the Donbas area, just as Germany lost Konigsberg (now, Kaliningrad!). Today, the Donbas and the Crimea will lose their identity as parts of Ukraine, and will likely be renamed: the “New Russia” (just as Konigsberg was renamed: Kaliningrad!). But with a lease Agreement in place, these regions can retain their Ukrainian identity. (Certain terms would have to be agreed upon, such as the tolerance of the Ukrainian language and culture within these two regions of Crimea and the Donbas, as well as a taxation agreement between Russia and Ukraine during the term of the Lease. Ukraine must receive benefits from this Agreement, which term of Agreement Russia would accede to as there would need to be compromises from both sides.)

    All in all, a Lease Agreement between Russia and Ukraine would be a win-win situation for Russia as well as Ukraine, given the current status of conflict between the two countries. Putin can have his image restored in the eyes of the Western World (the Space-Missile program between the USA and Russia would continue uninterrupted) and the Russian Oligarchs would return to their holidaying beaches in the West. The Russian ruble would be stored to its earlier strength in the financial market and Russian banking could continue as usual. Putin would be worshiped in Russia as a hero, perhaps as a demi-god? and all would be well with his regime (as long as he agrees to pay to Ukraine according to the terms of this Lease Agreement).

    In 35 years, Ukraine would be a new nation, a wealthy nation, and a powerful nation, both economically and militarily. If the Swiss-style of military conscription is adopted (whereby every able citizen forms part of the Ukrainian military reserve!), then Ukraine would become too formidable a foe for Russia to entertain the notion that it does not need to honor its International Lease Agreement with Ukraine. With most of the civilized world as co-signers in support of the enforcement of this Lease, Ukraine need not fear the loss of its lands. And all of these issues can be resolved without the need for further bloodshed.

    Not only does Ukraine buy the time it desperately needs to rebuilt itself into a genuine contender to the current growing Russian threat, but Putin would be stopped in his tracks from further Russian expansion (with the Lease Agreement of the Donbas and Crimea). Just as Russia now has the ominous task to rebuild and to update the Crimea, so it would have to spend its own money to rebuild the infrastructure of the cities and villages of the Donbas that its own terrorist regime so effectively destroyed!

    From the point of view of Ukraine, there would be a considerable savings as the roads and infrastructure of the Donbas (a project reaching in the billions of US dollars!) would be financed solely by Russia. Ukraine could also strike an Agreement with Russia to pay for the Chernobyl disaster (a project, which I understand, is still not complete as the radiation cap to this Russian-made disaster has still not been totally sealed due to a lack of funds). Several other concessions could be made by Russia to Ukraine if negotiated properly. It is my opinion that this Lease Agreement would be acceptable to Russia as Russia cannot long survive an ever-increasing isolation caused by severe economic sanctions. As well the MIstral ships currently cannot be sold to Russia because of its open invasion of the Donbas. With the conflict resolved between Ukraine and Russia (through this Lease Agreement), Putin could renew his military relations with France, Germany and other nations. Ukraine is therefore in a very strong position of leveraging in dictating the terms of this Lease Agreement.

    Simply achieving a total cease-fire in this conflict area would be a Victory to be celebrated by both sides, especially as both the Crimea and the Donbas would be legally recognized by Russia to be Ukrainian territories LEASED to Russia for a set period of time.

    In this Lease Agreement (to be made and agreed upon), the boundaries and borders of the Donbas area that Russia is to lease would be a significant achievement for both sides. Once the new borders are mapped out, Russia would agree not to overstep these boundaries thereby allowing peace and good-will to eventually be restored to the regions.

    Otherwise, this conflict would continue for months if not years and in the end, I doubt there would be any definitive resolution as hostilities would continue off and on indefinitely as they are between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

    Compromise whereby both sides can claim their own private victories appears to be the only sane solution.

  • Kruton

    Putin is a nutjob,case closed!

  • evanlarkspur

    I’ve got a way out for him…