Espreso. Global
OPINION

No point to rush for Putin

14 April, 2024 Sunday
13:30
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It's unrealistic to expect impulsive, short-term strategies from Putin

I've noticed a common sentiment in the comments regarding the recent large-scale missile attack that inflicted significant damage to our energy infrastructure: many believe it marks the beginning of a serious escalation likely to last 2-3 months or, at most, half a year. Reasons cited range from Russia's dwindling resources and economic decline to the upcoming US elections.

In my view, it's unreasonable to expect such short-term, impulsive plans from Putin. Especially with his recent re-election that secured his regime for the next 12 years (two terms of six – does anybody still doubt this?). Given that he can plan his actions up to the age of 83 (assuming he doesn't die), choosing a plan lasting only 2-3 months seems pointless. What's the rush?

He's doing relatively well: Russians aren't causing trouble and seem content despite falling living standards due to the militarized economy and increasing censorship and repression. They're pleased with Putin's decisions, even in the face of prolonged war, thousands more casualties, evacuations from the Belgorod region, and a daily reality filled with explosions and uncertain events like the Crocus terrorist attack. 

Meanwhile, Europe and the USA have tight deadlines due to upcoming elections and diverse voter preferences.

Regarding the attacks on the Ukrainian energy industry, it seems Putin perceives Europe's rapid defense buildup and wants to act while the plans are still in the works. He, like others, believes more shells mean better Armed Forces performance. If Russia plans further offensive action, escalating now makes sense, especially with our current shortages of shells and weapons.

Peskov echoed this logic, clearly outlining Putin's intentions: until four regions are fully captured, there's no reason for Putin to consider ending the war.

The Crocus terrorist attack, if orchestrated by the FSB, might have served to incite the anticipated fierce Russian offensive in the near future. This would create a narrative of "revenge for ordinary civilian Russians," particularly as the realities of the shelled and evacuated Belgorod and Kursk regions fail to resonate as desired among the Russian population and military.

And here's the thing: when considering Russia's tactics and strategy, we always prepare for the worst-case scenario for Ukraine. That's precisely what Putin wants. On the flip side, we hope for the worst outcome for Russia – running out of aircraft, equipment, personnel, and funds.

However, it's crucial to recognize that the worst-case scenario might not materialize. Realities shift, and we can alter them. So, predictions like "we're doomed in 2-3 months" or "Russia will retreat after 2-3 months" are equally unfounded.

That's why when I come across experts' forecasts about Putin's actions six months down the line, I can't help but recall their "absolutely accurate forecasts" from late 2021 to early 2022…

Source

About the author. Oleksiy Holobutskyi, political scientist

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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