Putin’s thirst for war, conquest and revenge never goes away

This article is the onsite version of the Europe Express newsletter. SIGN UP HERE Have your newsletter sent straight to your inbox on weekdays and Saturday mornings

Welcome back. U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in Warsaw on the eve of his one-year anniversary from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, saying President Vladimir Putin “can end the war with one word.” rice field. But the Russian leader will not take such steps unless it can claim victory on terms totally unacceptable to Ukraine and its Western supporters.I tony.barber@ft.com.

Predicting the outcome of a long, seemingly evenly fought war carries risks. Who predicted that in November 1917, twelve months after her, France, Britain, the United States, and their allies would achieve a comprehensive victory over Germany and the other Central Powers in World War I Did you?

After sifting through a wide range of commentary on the Ukraine war this week, neither side is headed for a decisive victory, a peace settlement is far away, and a ceasefire, temporary or otherwise, is unlikely. I got the impression that it was the consensus prediction that there would be even more. — not likely any time soon.

war of attrition

An excellent analysis to illustrate this argument comes from Thomas Graham, Distinguished Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and former US diplomat based in Moscow. Graham, who writes for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Russian Matters website, says that domestic politics in Russia, Ukraine and the United States Everything points to a continuation of the ‘war of attrition’.

Here are Graham’s thoughts on Putin:

He has shown no interest in negotiations other than the surrender of Ukraine. . . His exaggerated rhetoric, which likens the conflict to a patriotic war of survival against Hitler and Napoleon, limits his leeway.

About Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:[He] threw himself into complete victory. . .[He]We cannot exchange land for peace and hope to survive politically. ”

On Biden, the War, and the 2024 U.S. Presidential Election: “Framed as a historic contest between democracy and dictatorship . I hope

America the president himself said Warsaw:

Putin chose this war. Every day the war continues is his choice. He could end the war with a single word… That’s easy. The war will end if Russia stops invading Ukraine. If Ukraine stops defending itself against Russia, it will be the end of Ukraine.

This last point is reinforced by an article on Project Syndicate by Karl Bild, former prime minister of Sweden. Appeared in Korea TimesWhat would have happened if Russia had won the war so quickly a year ago, Bildt asks?

[Zelenskyy] Most likely killed by Russian special forces or imprisoned after a speedy trial. .. Ukraine as a political entity ceased to exist, returning to the status it held under Russian imperialism in the 19th century.

And Ukraine continues to fight despite heavy casualties, despite the mass evacuation of civilians and the devastating effects of the war on its economy. This IMF report in December.

Western military and financial support continues Ukraine’s war effort. FT reports — By December, Kiev’s finance ministry appears to have received only €31bn of the €64bn pledged by the West since the invasion.

As Keel Institute chart above As shown, the US provides the majority of Western aid, but for how long?

Washington-based US foreign and defense correspondent Felicia Schwartz writes that political and public support for supplies to Ukraine was once unwavering. Weapons and money are softeningand it could come under even greater pressure as the 2024 election approaches.

purpose of war

A drastic cut in U.S. aid would certainly crush Ukraine’s hopes of achieving all of its war objectives. As the conflict escalated, these strengthened, and since 2014, full government control over all territories seized by Russia has been restored, including Crimea and southeastern Donbass.

Few Western leaders publicly suggest that the aims of these wars are too ambitious, Some people think so in privateRussian atrocities in occupied territories and deportation of Ukrainian civilians. thousands of childrenmaking it particularly difficult for Western leaders to bring up the idea of ​​bringing such areas under Moscow’s control, even as part of a ceasefire, let alone a long-term reconciliation.

But it is equally true that Putin has carefully avoided detailing exactly what Russia’s war objectives are. Will he be satisfied with Crimea? 4 other regions of Ukraine Did he declare annexation to Russia in September even though it is not under full Russian military control?

Putin and the historical fate of Russia

In my view it is unwise to assume that. The collapse of the independent Ukrainian state after 1991 and the absorption of Ukrainian identity into the Russian-led East Slavic coalition seems to me to underlie Putin’s increasingly mysterious conception of Russia’s destiny. increase.

Few have described Putin’s obsessions more succinctly than the historian Thomas Otte. Writing for H-Diplo website Almost a year ago:

Putin’s view. . . reflects his embrace of radically anti-Western and anti-European concepts. Russky meal [the Russian world]a part-historical, part-ideological construct based on the ideas of the 10th-century Holy Rus, and itself an “invention” of 19th-century historians.

It embraces the late-tsarist idea of ​​an ethnocultural pan-Slavic bond among East Slavs, underpinned by the memory of victory over fascism in the Great Patriotic War.

Otte also stressed the importance of Putin’s frustrated allegations that the West had betrayed Russia after the Cold War by accepting the newly liberated ex-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe into NATO. ing. The leading diplomat of the time, Mary Elise Sarot, squashed this debate At the FT last weekend.

But, as Otte points out, Putin’s claims of Western malice turned into Russia’s equivalent of Germany’s post-1918 claims. Right-Wing Nationalist ‘Stabbing in the Back’ Mythaccording to which Jews, socialists and other homegrown “traitors” led the country to lose the First World War.

In short, Putin’s thirst for conquest, revenge and a respected place in the annals of Russian history is still unquenchable.Former Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev resigned last year protest the attack on Ukraineprovides insight into Putin and the officials who serve him.

He always causes war, attacks and destabilization. . .this war is his personal war Because no one around him wanted this war. And they don’t want it now. It’s not their responsibility to think and decide, so they just follow suit.

What do you think? Will fighting in Ukraine stop by the end of the year? Please vote here.

More on this topic

How Russia’s War Shattered the World’s Energy Routes — analysis E&E News by Benjamin Storrow and Sara Schonhardt

Tony’s Picks of the Week

  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is accepted a more active role in public life The FT’s Najmeh Bozorgmehr reports from Tehran as he seeks to consolidate the authority of the Iranian regime after the most violent demonstrations since the Islamic Revolution

  • Poland’s ruling party, the Party of Law and Justice, has lagged behind for most of the past three-and-a-half years, but is still far behind. Possibility of remaining in power after parliamentary elections Alex Szerbiak, a professor of political science at the University of Sussex in the UK, said it is expected later this year.

Britain after Brexit — Stay on top of the latest developments as the UK economy adjusts to life outside the EU.sign up here

make it work — Discover the big ideas shaping today’s workplace in our weekly newsletter by Jobs and Careers Editor Isabel Berwick.sign up here

Enjoying Europe Express? SIGN UP HERE Get it delivered straight to your inbox on weekdays at 7am CET and Saturdays at noon CET. Please let us know what you think. We would love to hear from you. europe.express@ft.comCatch up on the latest European stories @FT Europe

https://www.ft.com/content/898ffbdf-bf28-460c-87d3-02c9c47af6cb Putin’s thirst for war, conquest and revenge never goes away

Exit mobile version