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Restraining Putin until the inevitable collapse of his regime

Restraining Putin until the inevitable collapse of his regime
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Vitaliy Portnikov

It is in Ukraine’s interest to restrain Putin from engaging in war until the collapse of his regime, and this collapse is inevitable.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, has reported on the ongoing preparations for the meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, in the so-called “Normandy Format” (meeting format established in June last year when the leaders of Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine met on the sidelines of the D-Day commemoration in Normandy, France — Ed.).  The participants will be the presidents of Ukraine, France, and Russia, and the Federal Chancellor of Germany. They will be hosted by the President of Kazakhstan. This meeting is the main outcome of the recent trips by President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Kyiv and Moscow.

After meeting with Poroshenko and Putin, Nazarbayev also spoke with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Therefore, it is obvious that all parties are interested in a new meeting.

The question is what can the Astana meeting change? A major shift in the situation in unlikely. Russia’s president still fails to appreciate the consequences of the country’s economic crisis for his regime. The reason is not simply Putin’s stubbornness but his terrible incompetence. Putin is counting on holding out on the country’s reserves until the new rise in the price of oil. He has no doubt the prices will rise.

For Putin, the invitation to the Astana meeting is proof that the West is interested in a rapprochement with Russia and in saving face. That is exactly right! In his view, it is Mekel and Hollande who want to save face and not at all Putin. So then why should he compromise? Of course he will pretend that he is interested in a peaceful resolution of the conflict, but he will continue to support the thugs. And he will not leave the Donbas because he is convinced that the occupation of Ukrainian territory gives him the best leverage over Ukraine.

Then why do we need Astana? Because it is in our interest to restrain Putin from war until the collapse of his regime. And this collapse is inevitable precisely because of Putin’s incompetence and the stupidity of his entourage, the adverse economic conditions, and the lack of understanding by the Russian public itself of the seriousness of the threats. And we should not think it will take a long time. The regime could survive for a long time if it were a question of natural processes. But it is precisely because Putin always makes a mistake where a reasonable person would find the right solution that the collapse will be accelerated. The main thing is to keep Putin from going to war against us or any other country before this collapse takes place.

As for the de-occupation of our territory, we will be negotiating it with the successor president of the Russian Federation or the entity that will soon emerge in its place.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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