Soldiers of the National Guard of Russia (aka Russian Guard), a 500,000-strong internal security structure subordinated to Putin personally
When Vladimir Putin said during his “Direct Line” broadcast that his “main achievement” lies ahead, he provided a clue to this thinking about what he wants and what his policies will be in the remaining years of his time in power, according to Russian sociologist Igor Eidman.
Putin’s comments show that he is convinced that “only the seizure of Ukraine will permit the enormous territorial growth [needed for the growth of Russian power] and restore to it the status of ‘a superpower,’ without having changed while doing so the ethnic Russian character of Russia,” something a restoration of the USSR could in fact threaten.
That that means that when Putin talks about “a main achievement” in the future, he has in mind the seizure of Ukraine, “an idee fixe he is not able to conceal” because such an action would allow him to become “a great ruler” who added land and power to his country.
And that means, Eidman argues, that Putin will never give up his plans to seize not just part of Ukraine but all of it and will not be distracted by the pursuit of the restoration of the entire USSR because that would harm the ethnic Russian core of the state on which he has placed his bets.
Belarus is simply not big enough to provide the great achievement he seeks, and absorbing other parts of the former Soviet Union into an expanded Russian Federation could and indeed almost certainly would dilute the ethnic Russian nature of that state, a prospect Putin abhors.
- As long as Russia remains an empire, Moscow will be repressive at home and aggressive abroad, Eidman says
- Putin regime has set up not one but five ‘fifth columns’ in Germany, Eidman says
- Putin winning support from far right as well as far left with custom-targeted propaganda, Eidman says
- Kremlin’s targeting of messages makes ‘ideology of hybrid war’ more effective and dangerous than Soviet predecessor, Eidman says