Next year will not be final year of war
This forecast is solely my subjective opinion. It is based on my personal analysis of only open public information As a rule, I have optimistic and pessimistic scenarios. But for the next year, I have only a pessimistic one
The thing is that I take into account not only the powers of the parties and their capabilities. First of all, I pay attention to the "will to win". What it means can be explained in sports matches, when the opponents are not equal - the weaker one can win thanks to his "will". The will is a tremendous mobilization of physical and intellectual resources in order to win. The basis of a nation's will is formed by its unity, and this is where we are facing a catastrophe.
2023 was the year of the formation of three different Ukraines. One Ukraine is fighting the enemy every day for victory and survival. These are millions of people who have joined the defence forces or volunteer. The second Ukraine has adapted to life during the war and is dealing with personal issues of earning money on the budget, paving stones, shelters, and so on. The third Ukraine has started playing politics and preparing for elections. All three of these Ukraines do not hear each other and live in a parallel reality. The existence of this division will determine our limited ability to act next year. That is why I am pessimistic.
On the frontline, the next year will be a year of "big digging in". We are moving to active defense, and there will be no major offensives on our part next year. There will be counterattacks, successful operations, but at a local level. The success of our defense will largely depend on the scale of the digging in. We will have to retreat from a number of settlements, including those that are currently being fought over. The goal is levelling the front line and save our personnel. Therefore, I think that next year the front line will stabilize and will continue to be held despite the sometimes intense fighting.
Mobilization will be one of the key issues next year. I am also a pessimist here. Despite the intensification of mobilization methods, the percentage of plan implementation will remain low. This is because mobilization is more influenced by morale than by the forceful methods of the military. And the morale of our society has fallen dramatically, amid an equally failed communication policy.
Unfortunately, I predict a change of military leadership, including at the highest level. At the same time, the collapsed and incompetent government will fall apart even further, but there will be no systemic changes. In order to survive the next year, we need to switch to a military mode as much as possible. Moreover, due to political problems in the West, we will be asked to rely more on our own forces. And these demands will sound louder and louder. We will receive aid, but not in time and not in the amount promised. Yes, in the summer we will be able to use F16s for the first time, but in a very limited way and their impact will be minimal. Conferences with presentations from the Ministry of Economy will be a laughing matter in the West. The only thing they will expect is a clear plan to put the economy on a military track.
The biggest threat for next year is the elections. On March 17, Putin will be re-elected. The West will have to recognize these elections, otherwise no negotiations will be possible in the future. As soon as this happens, a powerful campaign will be launched to discredit Ukraine in the world as a non-democratic state. Orban, Fico, and others will immediately raise the issue of cutting off aid. The accusations will be actively and passively supported by the BRICS countries.
The biggest problem will be Trump's statement. If he says that he does not recognize Zelenskyy as president, we will be in a terrible situation, and we will most likely be forced to hold elections.
Eventually, since we have a political and public consensus not to hold elections, I would rather have a formal election to re-elect Zelenskyy before the war is over. Formal in the sense that all political forces would support the president in these elections. Such a consensus, coupled with, for example, a 90% voting rate, could be a powerful signal to the world. I predict that at first we will not hold the elections, then we will have problems, and we will hold them in the autumn together with the parliamentary elections. The political forces will agree to re-elect Zelenskyy, but they will demand free elections to the parliament.
To summarize: next year will not be the year the war ends. It will not bring us good news in the form of liberated Crimea or access to the 1991 borders. But at the same time, no major catastrophes should occur.
About the author. Victor Andrusiv, political and public figure, analyst, and publicist
The editors do not always share the views expressed by the authors of the blogs.