Residents of a Ukrainian town offering food and hot drinks to the soldiers defending their town. Russo-Ukrainian War. March 2022 (Photo: Maks Levin)

Residents of a Ukrainian town offering food and hot drinks to the soldiers defending their town. Russo-Ukrainian War. March 2022 (Photo: Maks Levin) 

Opinion, Russian Aggression

Edited by: A. N.

Vladimir Putin is now confronted with a problem that other leaders who have sent forces into other countries, Mikhail Pozharsky says. “Military successes do not have any significance if in political terms, the war is already lost” in the hearts and minds of the population of country the Kremlin leader has invaded.

Because the invasion comes on the heels of a growth in patriotism among the Ukrainians and has only increased their loyalty to Ukraine, Putin and his camarilla will not have any allies among the local population. And “to fight with this force is to try to extinguish a fire with kerosene,” the Russian commentator says.

“It is impossible to control a country of 40 million people” if that country has as Ukraine does a population that is opposed to the invader. And even if only a quarter of these are prepared to engage in sabotage or partisan activity, it will still be impossible for Moscow to pacify that country anytime in the future.

A nation in arms is such a powerful force even in the face of seemingly overwhelming military odds that those who send troops into other countries inevitably claim they are fighting not with the nation but with terrorists, Nazis or some other criminal group and also inevitably seek to “find allies and collaborationists among the local population.”

Ukrainian soldier with a mug of tea petting a stray dog in the street. The Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-present). March 2022 (Photo: Maks Levin)

Ukrainian soldier with a mug of tea petting a stray dog in the street. The Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-present). March 2022 (Photo: Maks Levin)

Pozharsky argues that “the US defeated Saddam Hussein not because it had better jets but because the Iraqi dictator was not massively supported by a population which did not view his war as their national one.” Despite what some think, propaganda can’t create such a population out of thin air. It must at least a little “correspond to reality.”

If the nation of the country that outsiders have sent forces has already taken shape, that is almost impossible to do and leads to the ultimate defeat of the outsider as happened to the United States in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Superior military force can prolong this process but it can’t prevent it from occurring.

Ukrainian defenders resting between fights. The Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-present). March 2022 (Photo: Maks Levin)

Ukrainian defenders resting between fights. The Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-present). March 2022 (Photo: Maks Levin)

Moscow can invent all “the little Nazis” and the oppressors of ethnic Russians in Ukraine it wants, but these do not correspond to reality, Pozharsky says. And it can bomb Ukrainian cities back to the stone age as it did in Grozny 20 years ago. But it can’t win on the battlefield what it has already lost in the hearts and minds of the people.

Their victory may be longer in coming, but it is coming nonetheless, the nemesis of all such imperial dreams. And in Ukraine today, “people live according to the principle ‘all for victory; all for the front.'” If they lose their tanks, they will use Molotov cocktails and even their bare hands; but they will resist – and they will ultimately win.

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Edited by: A. N.
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