Vladimir Putin & Russia January 2023-

Written by  //  January 24, 2023  //  Russia  //  No comments

Vladimir Putin & Russia 2021-April 2022
The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)

Are we seeing the beginning of the end of Putinism?
By Michael McFaul
(WaPo Opinion) Wartime leaders change generals when they’re losing, not winning. On Jan. 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff, was to replace Sergei Surovikin, who was appointed just a few months earlier in October….
This shake-up at the top of the military is not the only sign of Putin’s recognition of failure. He canceled his annual end-of-year news conference, evidently reluctant to take questions even from a mostly loyal and controlled press corps. His solitary and subdued appearance at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Kremlin on Orthodox Christmas communicated little confidence.
His propagandists sound depressed. Strikingly, one of them, Sergei Markov, summed up the previous year by stating bluntly, “The USA was the main winner of 2022. Especially Biden.” Newspaper reporter Maksim Yusin recently said on a talk show that Russia’s “special military operation” had achieved none of its original goals. Former Putin adviser Sergei Glazyev lamented in public that Russia does not have a clear end objective, a sound ideology or the resources to win the war against the collective West.
… Putin’s societal support is soft and declining. Public opinion polls show he still enjoys popular support. But these polls in Russia have high refusal rates, which should not be surprising in a country where you can go to jail for 15 years for “public dissemination of deliberate false information about the use of Russian Armed Forces.” The minority responding to these polls supports the regime, but the majority who choose not to respond likely do not. And even these highly flawed polls show little enthusiasm and declining support for the war, and a solid majority ready to support Putin if he ends the invasion. Anxiety about the conflict is growing. And the demographics of his support are clear: The older, more rural, less educated and poorer support Putin in greater numbers than the younger, more urban, more educated, wealthier Russians. Putin is losing the future.
Putin’s Last Stand – The Promise and Peril of Russian Defeat
By Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage
(Foreign Affairs January/February 2023) … It…appears that Russia is headed for defeat. Less certain is what form this defeat will take. Three basic scenarios exist, and each one would have different ramifications for policymakers in the West and Ukraine.
The first and least likely scenario is that Russia will agree to its defeat by accepting a negotiated settlement on Ukraine’s terms. That said, a Russian government—under Putin or a successor—could try to retain Crimea and sue for peace elsewhere. To save face domestically, the Kremlin could claim it is preparing for the long game in Ukraine, leaving open the possibility of additional military incursions.
A second scenario for Russian defeat would involve failure amid escalation. The Kremlin would nihilistically seek to prolong the war in Ukraine while launching a campaign of unacknowledged acts of sabotage in countries that support Kyiv and in Ukraine itself. In the worst case, Russia could opt for a nuclear attack on Ukraine. The war would then edge toward a direct military confrontation between NATO and Russia. Russia would transform from a revisionist state into a rogue one, a transition that is already underway, and that would harden the West’s conviction that Russia poses a unique and unacceptable threat.
The final scenario for the war’s end would be defeat through regime collapse, with the decisive battles taking place not in Ukraine but rather in the halls of the Kremlin or in the streets of Moscow. Putin has concentrated power rigidly in his own hands, and his obstinacy in pursuing a losing war has placed his regime on shaky ground. Russians will continue marching behind their inept tsar only to a certain point.

20 January
Don’t Fear Putin’s Demise
Victory for Ukraine, Democracy for Russia
By Garry Kasparov and Mikhail Khodorkovsky
(Foreign Affairs) Pro-democracy Russians who reject the totalitarian Putin regime—a group to which the authors belong—are doing what they can to help Ukraine liberate all occupied territories and restore its territorial integrity in accordance with the internationally recognized borders of 1991. We are also planning for the day after Putin. The Russian Action Committee, a coalition of opposition groups in exile that we co-founded in May 2022, aims to ensure that Ukraine is justly compensated for the damage caused by Putin’s aggression, that all war criminals are held accountable, and that Russia is transformed from a rogue dictatorship into a parliamentary federal republic.

13 January
Wartime Putinism – What the Disaster in Ukraine Has Done to the Kremlin—and to Russia
By Michael Kimmage and Maria Lipman
(Foreign Affairs) Wartime Putinism is a reduced Putinism, and it would be impossible to describe today’s Russia (to Russians) as an ascendant power. It is, rather, an embattled power. This explains the frenzied media campaign to drum up support for the war, which masks the fact that Putin has committed Russia to a long cycle of stagnation. Isolation and sanctions will together contribute to Russia’s economic and technological decline. Nobody can say how long Putin can walk this dispiriting tightrope. Putin’s warpath does not lead from point A to point B but is a circuitous route that leads from point A back to point A. A fine-tuned method for avoiding failure, wartime Putinism has all the hallmarks of a dead end.

8 January
Russia’s Eugenic War
Four policies of racial cleansing
Timothy Snyder
The onset of the war, and then the announcement of mobilization, drove much of the Russian intelligentsia and the middle classes abroad. From Putin’s point of view, this was a necessary “self-cleansing,” in which Russia was “spitting out” traitors (his phrasing) like insects. In the initial invasion force, and then among the mobilized, Russia’s ethnic minorities were over-represented. This too changes the complexion of Russia’s multiethnic population, leaving it more Russian. Third, Russia is now emptying its prisons to send these men to fight and die in Ukraine. This too is explicitly presented as a purification of the Russian population.
These actions all involve the reduction of the population of the Russian Federation. A fourth racial action more than compensates for this. It is the systematic seizure of Ukrainian women and children and their deportation into the vastness of Russia. From the territories occupied by Russia some three million people have been deported, disproportionately young women and children. At least two hundred thousand and as many as 700,000 children have been taken by force to Russia. (For comparison: Nazi Germany deported about 200,000 Polish children for assimilation during the entire Second World War.) The logic is that the women will have to marry Russian men and that the children will grow up as Russians.

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