Political commentator Vitaliy Portnikov wrote in a recent article that the main question remaining after the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted amendments to the special law on self-government in the Donbas is whether Putin would dare launch a new Donbas war. Since Portnikov left the question open, Galinfo has asked him to explain his reasoning on the issue.
“This is an open question even for the president of the Russian Federation. Before launching a new offensive, it is necessary to realize its possible consequences and purpose. If we believe that Vladimir Putin’s goal is to destabilize the situation in Ukraine, then it is also necessary to understand to what extent this new offensive would destabilize the situation or if, on the contrary, it would bring about even greater cohesion of Ukrainians around their statehood and their determination to defend it at a time when the Russian army is seizing more and more pieces of Ukrainian territory,” Portnikov said.
According to Portnikov, the Russian president also will have to consider the economic situation in his own country, which is on the verge of collapse.
“Additionally, before risking a new offensive, he will have to consider the possible reaction of Western sanctions on the Russian economy. In fact, the Russian economy is in more serious trouble than it appears at first glance. And the statistical information the experts rely on is probably falsified. So basically we can say that the collapse of the Russian economy is inevitable and may occur over the next several months — not even years,” he said.
Portnikov added that after the murder of Boris Nemtsov, the internal political tension has grown in Russia and for that reason Putin cannot feel safe even in the middle of the country.
“Today, after the murder of Boris Nemtsov, there is serious destabilization of the internal Russian political system. The fighting among clans has escalated, and Vladimir Putin is no longer able to satisfy all those who support his throne, on whom his power depends. Thus, any failure, any mistake, may bring about the political collapse of the president of the Russian Federation, and under the current conditions in Russia, this political collapse my mean the destruction of the entire system as well as physical danger for Putin, his closest entourage and their families. Thus, Putin will have to think about the serious matter of safety when he decides on these issues,” Portnikov said.
Portnikov also believes that if Putin does not revise his policy, Russia may experience its biggest political collapse since the Muscovy era.
“I think the president of the Russian Federation does not have a clear answer to all these problems today, that he finds himself in a corner and cannot find any logical exit from this situation. For that reason, the situation will develop sporadically and will lead, without any doubt, to the most serious political, economic and social collapse of the Russian Federation of its entire history as a state on this territory since Muscovy era,” he said.
In the event that Putin still decides to risk war, the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the EU will be strengthened, which will accelerate the end of the Russian Federation.
“If Putin sill dares to take that step, then the new severe sanctions of the United States and the European Union are inevitable. The Minsk process is a chance for Putin to leave the game with the smallest losses for his economy and his future. If he does not take advantage of this chance, those who want to avoid further deterioration of the situation will have no choice but to continue the economic pressure on Russia,” he concluded.