‘Putin has barricaded himself in the dead end he has created,’ Illarionov says

Putin (Image: AP)


Analysis & Opinion, Russia

“Putin has finally decided” to block all of the ways out from “the dead end into which he has driven himself and Russia,” Andrey Illarionov says, prompting the West to oppose him more vigorously, creating a disaster for Russia, and setting the stage for the ultimate restoration of Ukrainian control over the Donbas and Crimea.

The Kremlin leader’s use of nuclear blackmail led the leaders of Germany and France to sign the Minsk accords, the Russian commentator says, but his repeated use of the same tactic has forced the West to adopt a confrontational strategy given the dangers Putin’s policy entails.

Putin continues to try to present this situation as “a dead end into which he supposedly has been driven,” Illarionov continues. But “in fact, it was not the West that drove him into this corner but he himself. More than that, he continues in this direction ever further and deeper,” while carefully “barricading” Russia from any of the ways out he might have pursued.

Given that Russia has nuclear weapons and a 700,000-man army, the commentator says, that alone “forces millions of people throughout the entire world to be afraid” of what the Kremlin may do next.”

“That is the tragedy of the present situation,” Illarionov says, “because hundreds of millions of people directly depend on Putin. Their lives, health and well-being really depend on the decisions of one man. But the problem is that in the contemporary world, ordinary citizens, the expert community and the leaders of the Western countries don’t know how to respond.”

As a result, “the only way out of this situation” is likely to be “a continuation of the confrontation” which has plunged the world into a Cold War and a situation which “could take on other hotter forms.” And that reality, Illarionov says, is “not susceptible to easy and simple predictions.”

This war will have various stages. But at its end, Ukraine will regain control over the occupied territories.


That in turn means that “this war will have various stages. But at its end, Ukraine will regain control over the occupied territories,” the commentator says, adding that he is “very much concerned that for Russia this will not be the only geopolitical consequences of the end of this confrontation.”

Illarionov analyzes Putin from the perspective of someone who has consistently opposed the Kremlin leader’s actions in Ukraine. But what is truly frightening is some who have supported Putin look at the same situation he does and conclude that Putin must get out of the current impasse by going over to the offensive.

One such writer, Aleksey Anpilogov, in an article in Aleksandr Prokhanov’s “Zavtra,” pointedly asks “Is it possible to win a war while sitting in a fortress? Even if this fortress covers a sixth of the earth’s surface, has 146 million residents, and whose ancestors have left it a powerful arsenal of conventional and nuclear arms?”

The greatest theoreticians of war, he continues, say otherwise. They argue that “wars have always been won exclusively by attacks,” and those who adopt a defensive position typically create a situation in which “the army and people sitting in a fortress lose their opportunities for action day by day, exhaust their resources and demoralize their soldiers.”

The conflict between Russia and the West “isn’t going to disappear. War and the siege of the fortress will be extended just as Alarich’s barbarians continued the siege of Rome even after various ‘armistices’ and declarations about ‘eternal friendship.’” At the end of it, “’the thousand-year Rome’” was overwhelmed by the barbarians marching through its streets.

One wants to believe, Anpilogov continues, that “the Russian elite understands this and doesn’t have any illusions regarding the iron curtain of the West” which may take on many forms but which will never be eliminated as long as the two are locked in confrontation.

“Russia has no friends in Kyiv. But both the West and Russia have interests there which must be achieved. The interest of Russia is in the lifting of the blockade from its fortress – but unfortunately for this to happen, one must attack.” Acting as if Russia can simply sit in its fortress and wait is no way to win a war, he concludes.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Brent

    Then Putin and those who support his war crimes deserve to be eliminated.

    Putin and Russia created the mess they are in now. Sadly the West doesn’t have strong enough leaders to deal with them and Ukraine suffers because of it.

    • puttypants

      That’s the real travesty Once more Ukraine suffers because of USA and the Wests non-actions. Who does Ukraine choose between a dictatorship or a lover that doesn’t want them …the west. Ukraine must stand on their own. Get to work…rebuild the country with your own hands like the Germans did after WW2…Ukrainians are at least as hardworking and smart as the Germans. Ukraine stay united and work. and F Putin and his barbarians and the west and those cowards.

  • Murf

    Putin does not equal Russia.
    Once they understand that equation, then the way out will be clear.

  • Marco Zala

    Russia can live with an independent Ukraine, but Russia can’t exist with a western allied Ukraine that would cut Russias access to the Black Sea. So Ukraines overtures towards the west and Nato becomes therefor an existential threat to Russia that forces Russia to react.

    At least that is the geopolitical theory behind this war. If that is so, then western interferance in Ukraine ignited this conflict and the reason for it was to isolate Russia from Europe, to stop further integration between Russia and Europe, since this would be a threat to American ties with Europe and the future of Nato.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      A Western allied Ukraine would NOT cut Russian access to the Black Sea as a simple glance at any atlas wil show. Anyone claiming the contrary is an idiot. Russia has free direct access to the Black Sea through its ports of Anapa, Novorossiisk and Tuapse and, through the Strait of Kerch, also from Taganrog.
      Furthermore, there was no western interference in the Ukraine, but there was and is Russian aggression against the Ukraine, and illegal seizure of sovereign Ukrainian territory. Moscow’s own arrogance and stupidity has made Kyiv turn away from Russia for many decades, perhaps forever.

      • Marco Zala

        Russia’s annexation of Crimea seems to prove that Russia sees this issue differently. From Crimea they can control the Black Sea. And it is of course not only about the Black Sea, but also about Nato troops in Ukraine.

        The one who claims this is – Stratfor CEO – George Friedman.

        The European Association Agreement ignited the Euro Maidan and this conflict. Friedman fears that this will push Russia into a full blown hot war against Ukraine (now that the Novorossiya project have failed).

        • LorCanada

          To: Marco — Since Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO there is no commitment by NATO in the way of protection. There are no NATO troops in Ukraine. There might be instructors and strategic advisers, military exercises, etc. but that’s about it. I haven’t heard otherwise.
          Putin has no business invading Ukraine, a sovereign nation, or claiming its territory and carving it up to suit his agenda. He has blatantly broken INTERNATIONAL LAW as well as the Budapest Memorandum Agreement of 1994 signed by Russia and other signatories who agreed to RESPECT the borders of Ukraine, an independent nation. Obviously sly Putin turned traitorous and did a LAND GRAB of CRIMEA then invaded east Ukraine. Check out the interview done by Strelkov-Girkin who admitted Putin instructed him to overtake east Ukraine – all of which started the proxy war created by power-seeking Putin.

          • Marco Zala

            Russia had made it clear that Ukraine was a red line. In Georgia they showed that they will attack if the West crosses that line. Despite this we offered Ukraine the European Assocation Agreement (a political, economic and military agreement). Now we pretend that we are shocked by Russia actions. A Nato commander gave a few months ago Ukrainian soldiers medals for bravery, a symbolic act to show they belong to him. We can argue about international law, who is guilty, who started this, but now we are at war.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Whether or not Kyiv signs the Association Agreement is purely a matter for Kyiv and the EU and is none of Russia’s business. The Ukraine is an independent sovereign state and has every right to sign treaties, agreements etc with any country or organsiation it wants, whether Moscow likes it or not. Furthermore, the Association Agreement was economical, not military. In case you hadn’t noticed, there is no EU army.

            Just because the Ukraine was once part of the Russian Empire does not give the dwarf to invade the country and illegally seize any of its territory, or decide what Kyiv has to do. London does not decide the foreign policy of India any longer, nor The Hague that of Indonesia. The sooner Moscow realises and accepts that it has lost its colonies forever the better for all concerned- especially Russia.

          • Marco Zala

            Fine. All the arguments are just fine. Only that the end result is War.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            The end result is only war because the demented dwarf WANTED a war for internal policy reasons, old boy- he needed a war to distract the Dwarfstan people from the country’s failing economy, caused by his stupid policies. He had no reason whatsoever to attack the Ukraine. So stop blaming the EU and blame the REAL culprit instead: the dwarf.

          • Marco Zala

            Putin has ruled Russia with an iron fist, he reigned in the oligarch’s and gave Russia stability and prosperity. He toke control of Russian oil and gas corporations and made Russia the dominant energy provider for Europe. At the same time Germany became the dominant power in Europe. The political and economic axis between Moscow and Berlin benefitted them both.

            The conflict in Ukraine has caused damage to Russian relations with Europe and has provided the U.S an opportunity to place troops and arms from the Baltics to the Black Sea to build a new Wall that will isolate Russia from Europe.

            On top of this we have the rising power of China. China is dependent on investments and exports. The New Silk Road will hit a wall before it reaches Europe. This is causing tension in China and soon it will start to cause tension between China and Russia.

            Well… at least this is a geopolitical theory.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            And through his own aggression Russia no longer is the most important energy supplier to the EU- Norway is. Norway will happily pocket the $$$, Euros and pounds the dwarf wil no longer get. Smart move, alienating your most important customers….. NOT!
            The NATO troops in the Baltics have every right to be there and are only there because of Moscow’s aggression in the Ukraine and threatening actions and language towards the Baltics and Poles. In case you hadn’t noticed, the Baltics are full members of NATO. And the dwarf chooses isolation from Europe, so don’t blame Brussels, Berlin, Paris, London etc.
            If China’s New Silk Road hits a wall before it reaches Europe it won’t be caused by the west, who have little influence in Central Asia. It will be Moscow that stops the project because Peking is gaining influence in what was part of the USSR and is still regarded by Moscow is its private property, even though it no longer is.
            Moscow is worrying about the EU and US gaining influence in Kyiv which isn’t even part of Russia. It had better worry about Peking gaining influence in Siberia and the Russian Far East- which ARE part of Russia. The dwarf had better get his priorities straight, otherwise he will lose parts of the RF to Peking.

          • Marco Zala

            Russia has made moves that hasn’t gone down well with the West, like Russia’s closer ties with China through the SCO and BRICS.

            The West has also problems with Russia’s and China’s support to Iran, who is today in control over Iraq, and their support to Syria, also dominated by Iran, which has shifted the power balance in the Middle East, especially today with the war in Yemen, also dominated by Iran. Saudi Arabia (allied with U.S.A and Europe) is today surrounded by war, which is destabilizing Saudi Arabia. If wasn’t for oil in the Middle East, no one would care, but today it is a significant question since the world reached Peak Oil in 2005, after which the oil price has gone up. The West isn’t exactly innocent in the Middle East, since after all it was we who started the wars there (although the adventure has gone to hell).

            I’m just saying that the West isn’t innocent in Ukraine either.

          • LorCanada

            To: Marco — You are incorrect. The oil price has gone DOWN many months ago. Haven’t you noticed? Since there is a glut on the world market it’s hardly a bone to fight over by nations.

          • Marco Zala

            Fracking will give us some time, but it will never be able to fully replace conventional oil production of 70 million barrels per day.
            The glut in one chart.

          • gmab

            I think you’re overly preoccupied with fantasies that the West dream and think of Russia daily. US has little trade with Russia and EU has already found other buyers for most of the banned foods & expanding oil & gas connections outside Europe. Russia has nothing the West wants but everything China needs and wants!

          • Marco Zala

            Germany wants to build new pipelines to Russia. Europe is not pleased with the Sino-Russo pipeline.

          • gmab

            Only Putin’s result is war. Mature leaders would have reacted to this much differently. The USSR is dead. Russia owns no country from the former USSR. Do you understand this! Now Putin has made more enemies than ever before. The people of Russia will suffer once again from yet another idiotic President.

          • Marco Zala

            I agree, Russia should have not reacted to the changes in Ukraine.

          • LorCanada

            To; Marco — There is no officially DECLARED WAR. Putin has seen to that by his constant denial of any involvement in Ukraine’s destruction by non-existent Russian troops. And President Poroshenko has not declared war either, he’s merely defending his homeland.
            Putin is guilty of invading Ukraine first by doing a LAND GRAB of CRIMEA and then overtaking east Ukraine. You know the rest. That isn’t so hard to understand, is it?

          • Marco Zala

            I haven’t denided Russia’s annexation of Crimea or involment in East Ukraine. All that I’m saying is that they where reactions to Western involment in Ukraine.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Putin’s actions have made NATO troops in the Ukraine MORE likely, not less. Before 2014 there was little support for NATO membership, at best 10-15% of the Ukrainian population supported it according to opinion polls. Now, over 50% support NATO membership- and the longer the dwarf’s aggression lasts, the bigger the support will be. Russia is no longer considered a friendly neighbour, but a totally untrustworthy one.
          And with Turkey, Bulgaria and Rumania already in NATO, Russia does not control the Black Sea, even with the Crimea.
          To say that the Association Agreement ignited the Euromaidan is absurd. Yanukovich refusing to sign it did. And Moscow’s aggression ignited the conflict, not Euromaidan.

          • Marco Zala

            “To say that the Association Agreement ignited the Euromaidan is absurd. Yanukovich refusing to sign it did. And Moscow’s aggression ignited the conflict, not Euromaidan.” Cause and Effect.

            So why did we offer Ukraine this Agreement when we understod that this would lead war ? Now we of course claim that we had no clue. Why did we do it ?

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Nonsense! neither Kyiv or the EU wanted war, nor did signing the Association Treaty imply a declaration of war from either Kyiv or the EU. It only led to war because the demented dwarf wanted a war, for no other reason at all. There was no reason for either Kyiv or the EU to assume that the dwarf would be so stupid as to invade what was until then a friendly neighbour. Now that friendly neighbour considers Russia to be a hostile country and will act accordingly. Moscow is, thanks to its own stupidity, making an enemy of a country that wasn’t and has lost all influence in Kyiv, perhaps forever.

    • gmab

      Ukraine can never be fully independant with Russia meddling & controlling it from the inside. Losing Yanukovych is what scared Putin to the point of terror. The Black Sea is open to many ports on Russia’s coast. Your argument is script. The only huge threat to Russia, is PUTIN!!

      • Marco Zala

        Russia seems to have been terrified by the events in Ukraine and reacted out of fear. So, was really necessary by us in the West to create this situation ?