How Entangled Is Vladimir Putin’s Fate With The Outcome Of The Russia-Ukraine War?

As quickly as Russia invaded Ukraine, the conflict turned inextricably linked with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As Russia is an authoritarian nation and Putin has been in energy since 1999, this is sensible. He has pressed on with the “special military operation” ever because it started on Feb. 24, 2022, regardless of being warned repeatedly by the West that there could be penalties.

So it follows that his legacy would now be wrapped up with it.

And, precisely 12 months after it started, it’s fairly clear that the invasion — initially meant to final a matter of days — is unquestionably not going to plan. Russia now controls solely round 18% of Ukraine, together with areas it already seized in 2014.

So what does the conflict and its failures imply for the primary man behind it?

Is It Fair To Call It ‘Putin’s War’?

Emily Ferris, analysis fellow for Russia and Eurasia for the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), instructed HuffPost UK that it could be honest to name it Putin’s conflict.

She defined that all the preparations and group of the invasion have been organized by a small group of individuals across the Russian president.

Ferris added: “Most commanders in the ministry of defense were kept in the dark, which has obviously created a lot of military logistical and coordination problems from the Russia side.”

Russia has been beset with issues to do with recruiting troopers, organi`ing provides and normal coaching for the reason that conflict started.

But, as soon as Putin revealed his “special military operation,” did the Russian public actually again it?

Surveys on public opinion are performed by the Kremlin, which casts doubt over how correct they’ll ever be.

Still, if these polls are seen as correct, it might seem that Russian civilians “are less concerned with which side invaded first, and more concerned about finishing what has been started,” in response to Ferris.

She continued: “This suggests that there is appetite from the Russian public to engage in some kind of a negotiated end to the war, even if they do not oppose the war itself.”

But, she did level out: “Although there are people who oppose the war, there are also those who are not against the war in principle, but do not want to be drafted into the armed forces, and there is overlap between these groups.”

There was a spike in public demonstrations and makes an attempt to flee the nation after Putin referred to as for the partial mobilization of reservists again in September, however these seem to have been squashed.

Has He Lost All International Support?

Well, not as a lot as we would have predicted.

RUSI notes that whereas Western states have instructed that Russia and Belarus now stand alone, there are indications it has assist away from Europe and North America.

Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s overseas affairs minister, just lately toured African nations, implying that “there are still countries willing to buy into Russia’s worldview, or at least put the moral questionability of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to one side,” Ferris stated.

Then, there’s China and India who’re shopping for Russia’s fossil fuels, serving to to fill the vacuum supplied by the withdrawal of Europe.

Another suppose tank, Chatham House, although, identified that these new offers might look thrilling, however they’re nonetheless not as profitable as those Russia beforehand had with Europe and North America.

“Markets have fundamentally changed with new deals, renewables on the rise, and both governments and consumers alike all too aware of the dynamics and fragility of the global supply network,” authors on Chatham House’s “Seven ways Russia’s war on Ukraine has changed the world” defined.

Still, being other than the West truly provides Putin extra freedom because it means he doesn’t must abide by varied parameters that Europe and North America have set. As the Russian president’s former financial advisor, Andrey Illarionov, instructed the BBC, the much less resistance to Putin, the simpler it’s for him — and if there was no resistance, “he would go as far as he could.”

He added: “There is no way to stop him except military resistance.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Anadolu Agency by way of Getty Images

Has Putin Risked It All With This War?

RUSI’s Ferris instructed HuffPost UK: “Some criticism has come close to personal criticism of Putin, but not enough to undermine the image he’s trying to promote of himself as the bringer of peace.”

Meanwhile, the Russian president claimed the entire “special military operation” took place as a result of the West has turned Ukraine towards Russia — once more, turning the blame away from him.

Putin may also use the 2024 presidential elections and regional elections later in 2023 to bolster assist. After all, it’s unlikely to problem his management, as Putin has been on the prime of Russia for twenty years.

Ferris instructed as a substitute that “these will be an opportunity for him to demonstrate to Russian people that he can end the war, while ignoring the inconvenient truth that it was Russia who began it.”

And, as The Atlantic famous, some Russian oligarchs (two dozen) who weren’t that supportive of the conflict have suffered sudden and mysterious deaths during the last 12 months.

But, not everyone seems to be so satisfied that Putin will be capable of separate himself fully from regardless of the closing end result of the conflict is.

Steve Rosenberg, BBC’s Russia editor instructed BBC Radio 4′s Today program: “Russia has survived — it has for centuries. But Vladimir Putin’s fate, irrevocably now, is linked to the outcome of this war.”

Russian newspaper editor Konstantin Remchukov additionally instructed Rosenberg his worries have been round civil conflict — and one of the best ways to keep away from it was to line up a robust successor to Putin.

He stated: “The person who has authority over elites, who has resoluteness to isolate those who are eager to exploit the situation. This is the huge battle behind this thing.”

He added that the elites in Russia have been “quietly” discussing it, possible with Putin’s information.

Meanwhile, Chatham House’s James Nixey, director of the Russia and Eurasia program, claimed that Russia couldn’t be separated from Putin.

He stated: “There is no going back after this. The war now is as much about Russia’s regime survival as it is about the survival of Ukraine.”

What Happens Next?

Would Putin go for peace?

Even if Putin does conform to a peace negotiation of some variety, Russia might be not going to just accept going again to the land borders that have been in place earlier than Feb. 24, 2022.

And it positively is not going to settle for what Kyiv needs, which is a return to pre-2014 territorial traces, that means Crimea would return to Ukraine.

The RUSI suppose tank pointed to the annexation of 4 territories of Ukraine again in September to counsel that Russia would possibly push for territorial settlement and concessions round a part of Kherson, though “any discussion of Crimea is off the table.”

Instead, Russia would possibly attempt to maintain extra regional elections in September this yr to increase its political management over these 4 annexed areas, that means they’d get a seat within the Russian parliament.

Ferris additionally famous that Putin had already lowered his expectations after a yr of conflict, from full scale occupation to the present 4 territories.

“Any further territorial concession is likely to be considered a loss,” she added.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russian invasion of Ukraine

PA Graphics by way of PA Graphics/Press Association Images

The largest concern is that the Russian president — if the conflict will not be going his manner — would drift towards the nuclear button.

Putin put his nuclear weapons on “high alert” firstly of the conflict however this was a brand new phrase, that means its precise that means is difficult to decipher in relation to the conflict.

Then, there are the fixed violent threats round Zaporizhzhia the place Ukraine’s largest nuclear energy plant is from Russian forces.

Experts have speculated that Putin is taking part in on Ukraine’s fears of one other nuclear accident after the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986.

Chatham House’s Dr. Patricia Lewis, director of the International Security program, additionally argued that it might not make sense for Putin to make use of nuclear energy on Ukraine if he actually is making an attempt to construct an “imperial legacy project”.

But, as Jamie Shea — affiliate fellow within the institute’s worldwide safety program — identified: “The risk of escalation is ever present with a Russian regime on the back foot and willing to lash out.”