After Putin, Russia to become even greater threat to Ukraine, Kyiv analyst says

Rising ultra-right movements in Russia could become a challenge for the power of Vladimir Putin, as well as for the future of Ukraine (Image: drugoi.livejournal.com)

Rising ultra-right movements in Russia could become a challenge for the power of Vladimir Putin, as well as for the future of Ukraine (Image: drugoi.livejournal.com) 

2015/11/01 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

Many Ukrainians and others believe that after Vladimir Putin leaves the scene, Moscow will return Crimea and the Donbas to Ukraine and relations between the two Slavic countries will normalize, Anatoly Oktysyuk says. But in fact, Russia may become an even greater threat to Ukraine than it is now.

The reason for that sobering conclusion, the Kyiv analyst says, is to be found in the growing power and influence of the extreme right Russian nationalists in Russia, something that is becoming “a major test not only for Vladimir Putin but also for the future of Ukraine.”

Even more than Putin, Oktysyuk says, these Russian nationalists “do not understand why “Kyiv is the mother of Russian cities’ but still up to now is the capital of an independent Ukraine;” and they are likely to act on that belief and take an even more aggressive line regarding Ukrainian statehood.

Consequently, there is “every reason to think” that those who believe a post-Putin Russia will necessarily be better for Ukraine (or indeed for itself and the rest of the world) almost certainly are deluding themselves about the nature and even more the source of the Russian “problem.”

Looking into the future, “after Putin, power in the Kremlin could be seized by representatives of the army and force structures or the nationalists. Either of these variants will carry with them great risks and threats for Ukraine.” Neither of these groups understands why Putin didn’t follow up his success in Crimea by seizing even more of Ukraine.

“Over the course of the last 15 years,” Oktysyuk says, “an entire generation was raised in the spirit of Russian chauvinism and great power views. Moscow, in its opinion, is ‘the third Rome,’ the new center of a world force, which everyone must take into consideration, as they did at some point with the Soviet Union.”

As a result, he continues, “the new Russian geopolitical paradigm by itself excludes the existence of the politically and economically independent states, which arose on the post-Soviet space” and in the first instance, these include Ukraine, whose appearance “on the world map” many in Russia and elsewhere consider “a geopolitical ‘misunderstanding.’”

Putin’s approach to Ukraine, with all its reactive and unpredictable qualities, reflects his effort to balance among various groups in Russia – big business, the bureaucracy, the church, the army and the force structures – all of whom are united by money and power, the Ukrainian analyst argues.

But “the ‘nationalists in principle’ are very angry” about what Putin has not done in Ukraine, and “it is not excluded that under the impact of sanctions and in connection with the significant reduction of Russia’s ‘resource base’ on which the entire system of Putin’s power rests, this boat will begin to rock” because the nationalists want to take command.

If the Russian nationalists came to power, then there would be “more challenges and problems” for Ukraine and the other countries in the region, Oktysyuk says. And “if [Ukraine] withstood the first wave of Russian aggression only thanks to the heroism of the army and volunteers and the mobilization of the active strata of the population, the second wave could be still more destructive.”

Because of that possibility, even likelihood, he concludes, Ukraine must “prepare itself already now,” with the government carrying out “real reforms, modernizing the country and struggling with corruption.”

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Brent

    This may be likely, but it is also very unlikely timid Western leaders like Merkl, Hollande, Sarkozy and Obama (or their successors) are going to act as feebly to a ultra nationalist Putin successor. To them Putin is Russia.

    I would be shocked to even expect the “useful idiots” like Orban and Le Pen would hitch their wagons to the likes of “Strelkov” or Rogozin or a military leader who may succeed Putin.

    • optionrider

      Putin isn’t going away any time soon and he’ll have enough time to drive RuSSia into a ditch, crash and burn. The US seems to follow this piece of advice:
      “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
      – Napoleon Bonaparte

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        If the nationalists threaten to get too big the dwarf will unleash the FSB and crush them, I think. He won’t have any compunction in bumping off people such as Dugin, Guzenkova and Girkin if they and their followers become a real threat to his position, and thoe positions of his crooked chums. Frankly I’m surprised Girkin is still alive as he’s been making a lot of statements in the Dwarfstan media that are rather embarrassing to the dwarf. Don’t forget that the dwarf has already outlawed at least one extreme nationalist group, “Slavyanskii Soyuz”, and put its ringleaders behind bars.
        The dwarf and chums won’t go without a fight and this could result in a civil war. Whoever wins will preside over a weakened country that won’t be a threat to anyone for quite some time.
        If the dwarf does go as a result of his failed policies he will most likely be succeeded by someone in his entourage- Medvedev, Lozhvrov, Shoigu?

        • Vol Ya

          The break up of russia or a civil war inside russia, either way that would be good for Ukraine. Don’t forget that putin has also made all Russians the targets of the radical muslims by bombing Syria. putin = idiot

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            I saw on TV yesterday that there are two new beers available in Kyiv, “Putin Khuilo” and “Frau Ribbentrop”. Must remember to bring home a few bottles when I visit Kyiv again.
            There is already a star which has been named “Putin Khuilo” and apparently once named by the international astronomists this cannot be changed. Would the dwarf know that he is linked forever to a star named “Putin Khuilo”?

      • Murf

        I agree.
        I am not an Obama fan but he ha given Putin enough rope to hand himself.
        Heck, Putin has slipped the noose over his own head and and is reaching for the release lever.
        The only question is how much longer does he have and how many people will die until them.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Marine Le Pen will accept ANYBODY’S money if it gets her into the Élysée palace. I’m less sure about Orban, though.
      Obama’s successor is unlikely to be as timid, whoever he/she may be. Successors to Merkelain, Hollandier and most of the other European “leaders” are a different matter, however.

      • laker48

        Poland under the new Law and Justice (PiS) parliament and government will become much more confrontational towards weakening by the day RuSSia. Poland’s economic and military strength keeps growing at respectable rates, while RuSSia’s economy keeps rapidly shrinking and its military has been overextended for quite a long time.

        If the US and its Western allies contain the conflict in Syria, RuSSia will face a Herculean task of fighting heavily financed and supported by the Saudis Sunni opposition and supported by the West Kurdish peshmergas, not to mention vicious ISIS militants. Syrian army land attacks have already lost the momentum and without RuSSian boots on the sand they don’t seem to be able to reclaim the territory held by the opposition fighters who will likely receive anti-aircraft missiles able to shoot down Russian attack fighter jets.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Hand-held SAMs such as the SA-7 are already on the way, with the compliments of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. They will probably be available by the end of this week. Although ineffective at altitudes over about 4,000 metres, they will at the very least inhibit low-level attacks, forcing Dwarfstan planes to bomb from higher altitudes and presumably reducing accuracy.
          And if some are smuggled to guerrillas operating around Damascus and especially Latakia, they could even make take-offs and landings at Dwarfstan’s aerodromes a bit hazardous, increasing psychological stress on the aircrew.

          • laker48

            I suspect that dwarf was lured into Syria and set up.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            I think the demented dwarf didn’t need any setting up, but that he saw an opportunity to show the decadent gay west how great he is and seized it without thinking about the possible consequences first. Apparently there’s a KGB fitness report on the dwarf floating around on the net (I haven’t found it yet) in which his then superior states that he isn’t interested in the consequences of his decisions.

        • Nowhere Girl

          Still, the Law and Justice are likely to destroy our own democracy. They would prefer a constitution with very limited freedom of religion, without independence of the judicial power… And don’t trust their general anti-Russian stance. The party of Pawel Kukiz will probably become their ally and, while surely much weaker, this party is full of Russian fifth column…
          I will never trust PiS. I am a deeply convinced “demoliberal”, a word which even PiS, by the way, tends to use with contempt. There are basically only two possibilities for the whole world: democracy and mutual respect – or destruction.

  • Mephisto

    Everything will depend on who will succeed Putin. Putin will be succeeded when his policies fail. Putins policies are nationalism, fascism. It is likely that his successor will want to distance himself from exactly these policies.

  • anonymous

    “prepare itself already now”; if the above speculation comes to be; the obvious preparation is military armament. The only real defense against Russia is to assure that any territorial expansion has the highest possible cost in Russian lives and materials. Certainly, corruption and modernization are important to the future of Ukraine but to have benefit from those advances only a military deterrent will be effective against Russian imperialism over Ukraine independence.

  • Vol Ya

    Putin has created fascism in russia. He created it and it will likely destroy him and cause Russia to splinter further. But that is putin’s problem. Regardless, Ukraine needs to become strong economically and militarily. We can’t be dependent on the good will or lack of it from Russia or the west.

  • Lev Havryliv

    Many Russians are still in the grip of a post-imperial syndrome. They are not reconciled to the fact that Russia is no longer a superpower.

    They erroneously think that if Ukraine and other former nations of the USSR are subjugated to Moscow’s rule that Russian “greatness” will be restored.

    The reality now is that Russia has nothing positive to offer anyone. Either politically, economically or ideologically.

    The Russian imperial idea is dead. Pity so many Russians delude themselves that this is not so. The only thing Russia excels at now is violence and deceit.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      When the demented dwarf became president in 2000 he had a tremendous opportunity to become a great president for Russia. He could have crushed corruption, invested the oil and gas revenues in modernising and diversifying the country’s economy, improving health care, infrastructure and education, and ensured that the country was governed by the rule of law. Russia would thus have gained the respect and admiration of its neighbours, who would have gravitated naturally to such a positive example.
      However, he did none of these things. Corruption is no better than in his neighbours. The oil and gas revenues were either stolen by his crooked chums and himself, wasted on prestige projects such as the 2014 Winter Olympics, or wasted on a bloated army and FSB, the latter repeating the mistakes of Brezhnev and Co. Further billions, not to mention lives, were wasted on senseless wars- Chechnya, Georgia, the Ukraine and now Syria; again, a repeat of Brezhnev’s mistake in Afghanistan. Only a small fraction of the money reached the population. Almost nothing was spent on improving health care, education and infrastructure. As for rule of law, WHAT rule of law? Dwarfstan is run by a bunch of crooks, the law subject to their every whim and fancy. The name Ministry of Justice is a farce.
      Furthermore, his encouraging the extreme nationalists is threatening to blow up in his face.

      Now, with collapsing oil and gas prices and the Saudis and other Gulf states threatening to undercut Dwarfstan’s oil and gas prices, the dwarf’s system of misrule is about to collapse. According to Finance Minister Siluanov the reserve funds, intended for providing pensions but being raided by the dwarf to plug the holes in the state budget, will be empty by the end of 2016. Then what? No more pensions? His Great Gas Deal with China, announced with lots of noise last year, has been postponed indefinitely by Peking. Even if it goes ahead, the halving of the gas price has made what was already at best a marginal deal a guaranteed loss maker. The economy, already a shambles, will slowly but surely implode, and the country with it.
      The sanctions, paltry as they are, are slowly strangling the economy, like the British blockade slowly strangled Germany in WW1. Peking won’t help, and why should it? A weak Dwarfstan is very much to its advantage. Plus, it has its own problems now.
      His illegal annexation of the Crimea and his war in the Donbas has alienated a neighbour, which had until then been friendly, for decades, if not forever. Even his closest allies Lukashenko and Nazarbaev no longer trust him.
      Yet despite total disaster looming, the citizens of Dwarfstan still continue to delude themselves, still believe their country is great.

  • Vol Ya

    By the time putin leaves he will have bankrupted the country and pillaged as much as he could for himself. Of course his offshore bank accounts won’t help him much if mobs of Russians hang him.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      I think the dwarf would fly to Pyongyang, which is probably the only place where he would get asylum. I doubt whether Karimov, Nazarbaev or Lukashenko would offer him sanctuary, especially Lukashenko. I don’t see Peking obliging either.
      What a way to end your days- playing tiddlywinks with Kim Jong-un. Without Alina, of course; she’ll dump him instantly, I doubt whether shopping in Pyongyang would hold much attraction for her. And when questioned by the country’s new rulers, she’ll say “Vladimir who? I don’t know any Vladimir at all.”
      And what use would all those stolen billions be in Pyongyang? Plus, Kim Jong-un will probably say “Hand over the loot, dwarf, or you will be on the next flight to Moscow.”
      Of great interest to Kyiv would be the fate of Proffessor Viktor Yanukovich, Azarov and Co. Where will they go to? Zimbabwe perhaps? Mugabe would rob them of every cent, then feed them to the crocs.