Military losses, an economy under the weight of sanctions, and talk of a long “war of attrition”, facts reminiscent of the scenario of the former “fall of the Soviet Union”, according to analysts with whom Al-Hurra spoke.
On May 9, 2022, coinciding with Russia’s 27th Victory Day Parade, in which the country celebrates the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood among his soldiers and spoke of his army’s ” steadfastness in the defense of the fatherland “. “”, which connects the Soviet past with the Russian present, and notes “the determination to continue the war in Ukraine,” according to the magazine “Foreign Affairs.”
Russia says it has sent troops to Ukraine to undermine its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and eradicate what it described as “dangerous nationalists.”
Putin on Thursday called on the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to work together to confront the “selfish actions” of Western countries, against the backdrop of unprecedented sanctions against Moscow is set over the Ukraine conflict.
He condemned the efforts of these Western countries to “exploit financial mechanisms to make the whole world responsible for their mistakes in the issue of general economic policy,” according to AFP.
According to “Foreign Affairs”, Putin tried to “show the strength of the Russian army”, but the Russian military setbacks on the battlefield “denied that claim” and some had expected the “collapse of the Putin regime”. Soviet Union dissolved.
It appears that this scenario is likely to be repeated, due to the prolongation of the war “without a clear military resolution”, and in the absence of a “desired Russian strategic goal of the war”, according to the expert at the Trends UAE Research and Consulting Center, Yousry Al-Azbawi.
On the Al-Hurra website, El-Azbawi said that “Russia – Putin” is aware of the danger of continuing the war, because “it will open the door to drain Moscow,” similar to what with the former Soviet Union happened. 42 years ago when it invaded Afghanistan.
The director of the European Center for Studies and Intelligence in Germany, Jassim Muhammad, agrees with the previous opinion, adding that “the war is already draining Russia on all fronts,” but Putin does not care and seeks profits from any cost.”
Jassem Muhammad spoke to Al-Hurra website, referring to Russia’s “economic suffering” due to Western sanctions, and his “political suffering” after creating a “large gap” with European Union countries, and his “security suffering”. “, in the face of an escalating internal popular rejection of the invasion. .
And “Foreign Affairs” indicates that the war “will weaken popular support for the Kremlin with increasing losses and sanctions destroying the Russian economy.”
According to the New York Times, Russia and its allies are facing increasing economic pain due to the “impact of sanctions and energy embargoes” on Russia’s military campaign and Putin’s domestic political situation.
“mistakes of the past”
But these facts may be “not enough” to repeat the scenario of the collapse of the Soviet Union, as the “erroneous economic policies” and “major political mistakes” of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev are the main reason for the “self “was. “collapse of the country”, according to Foreign Affairs.
Will Putin repeat those mistakes, or did he learn from “the lessons of the Soviet past?”
Putin has already made several strategic mistakes during his forces’ invasion of Ukraine, which “centralizes decision-making and excludes political power,” and exaggerated talk of “the strength of the regime,” El-Azbawi said.
Al-Azbawi points to “the lack of balance between this maximization of power and the actual Russian military capabilities”, in addition to the “political miscalculation”, which did not estimate the magnitude of the losses the Russians suffered when they became involved not. in the war in Ukraine.
In recent weeks, Russia has scaled down its ambitions in Ukraine, focusing on operations in eastern Ukraine and the use of long-range artillery and other weapons to bomb Ukrainian fortresses.
Four months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Russian air force failed to control Ukrainian airspace and faced huge losses in equipment and troops, according to Business Insider.
“Forbes” points to a dilemma facing the Russian Air Force related to the lack of training and the lack of skilled pilots, which prompted Russia to “look for mercenaries to compensate for its human losses.”
To avoid losses, Russia is trying to focus its military movements on “Eastern Ukraine”, with the aim of annexing them to Crimea, which it seized in 2014, according to El-Azbawi.
Will Putin hold out?
At the moment, Moscow has succeeded in its military and economic resilience, due to “Russia’s oil power and its production of grain and many minerals,” according to El-Azbawi.
Russia is the third largest producer of fossil fuels in the world, has the second largest proven reserves of natural gas and the third largest coal reserves in the world.
The country holds 6.4% of the world’s oil reserves, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter next to the European Union, according to “Reuters”.
But El-Azbawi claims that prolonging the war will drain those capabilities, and therefore “Moscow” will not be able to resist them, especially if Ukraine and the West have managed to transfer the battle to Russian territory.
Russia can succeed “economically” in the short term, and Putin is betting “militarily” on “winning the war at all costs”, and he may be able to use a “tactical nuclear weapon” to achieve this, but he will ” expensive price paid, ”according to Jassim Muhammad.
The New York Times notes that the Russian economy is suffering worsening damage with the protracted war, especially as the restrictions imposed on technology exports to Russia are gradually hampering the growth of its industries.
Jassim Muhammad believes that Putin’s haste and his quest to rebuild the glory of the Soviet Union is the biggest strategic mistake of the Russian regime.
He claims that Putin did not learn the lesson from the fall of the Soviet Union, and still deals with the countries of the former Soviet Union with “superiority”, and successive losses did not stop him from “realizing his personal ambition”. “to be. the “new tsar”.
In light of President Putin’s imperial dream, and his aspirations to “build personal glory”, it is difficult for Russia, according to El-Azbawi, to withdraw from Ukraine in the near future.
El-Azbawi stressed that many decision-making circles in Russia realize the importance of achieving a quick victory, “even if only partially,” in order to enter into negotiations to bring about peace while preserving the gains made. , “so that the Soviet scenario does not repeat.”
“Foreign Affairs” refers to a new scenario that could destroy Russia as a result of the protracted war, which is the possibility of the emergence of a “weak Russian state,” but it would be authoritarian.
Jassim Mohammed agrees with that scenario, emphasizing that “fragility has begun to plague the Russian state” as a result of the repercussions of the protracted war.
El-Azbawi stressed the possibility that this scenario would take place, in the event that “the West continues to support Ukraine financially and militarily.”
“This time, Russia could be divided into several weak states that are in conflict with each other,” according to El-Azbawi.