Having failed to stage ‘short victorious war’ in Ukraine, Putin faces problems at home

Medvedev and Putin


2014/07/09 • Politics

Both those Russians who continue to press Vladimir Putin to intervene militarily in eastern Ukraine and those who say that his policies in Ukraine have been a disaster are increasingly reviving an old Russian metaphor that cannot be encouraging to the current incumbent of the Kremlin.

Ever since Nicholas II and his advisors thought “a short victorious war” against Japan would work to their advantage and a defeat in that conflict sparked the Russian revolution of 1905, Russian analysts have often discussed Moscow’s foreign policy actions in terms of their consequences, often cataclysmic, at home.

the rising in the Donbas could grow into a Russian rising

In an essay on Forum-MSK.org, Mikhail Kalashnikov, a Russian nationalist, argues that “the Kremlin has lost control over the process” in eastern Ukraine and that as a result, “the rising in the Donbas could grow into a Russian rising” in Russia given that pro-Russian forces now face defeat.

And in an Ekho Moskvy broadcast, Konstantin Remchukov, the editor in chief of Moscow’s “Nezavisimaya gazeta,” discusses a century on whether the events of 1905 when “an imperialist war was transformed into a civil one” could happen again.

Such speculations, of course, do not mean that Putin inevitably faces such an outcome, but they do have the effect of calling into question the depth of the support that polls show he currently enjoys. Indeed, those poll numbers themselves call to mind the initial enthusiasm Russians had for some previous wars and their subsequent disillusionment.

But perhaps more important in this regard are three other data points reported in the Russian media over the last two days. First, polls show that large shares of Russians do not want to fight in Ukraine and are not prepared to boycott Ukrainian goods to bring Kyiv to heel.

Second, divisions about Ukraine are beginning to appear in the political elite. Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as Putin’s prime minister between 2000 and 2004 but later broke with him, says that Kyiv will never agree to recognize the pro-Moscow separatists as “a legitimate side in any negotiations,” something Putin has been seeking.

And third, anger about Moscow’s spending on the occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea is now spilling into the streets of some Russian cities. In Novosibirsk today, there was a demonstration scheduled against spending money that protesters say should go to Russians at home.

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  • Milton Devonair

    Putin has been using all the tricks of faux nationalism to get more and more control over his captives/slaves/russians in russia. That’s one of the things dictators have to do when they don’t want to start shooting ‘the people’ until they finally submit.

    When all this faux nationalism starts to wane in the criminal, corrupt cesspool called ‘russia’, the problems there will re-surface, only greater in both amount and intensity.
    Russia is an export country like mexico, where their biggest exports are gas and their youth.
    And putin, in building his eurasian empire, is importing millions of lower wage non-russians into russia.
    There is trouble ahead for russia. Putin’s just trying to put it off.
    From vladimir russia:

    • http://ukrainianpolicy.com/ UkrainianPolicy

      how does that photo relate?

      • Milton Devonair

        His gambit didn’t work in Ukraine…and that distant problem in Ukraine is indeed already in russia. With a not good economy, nor job prospects and a corrupt and oppressive ruling class…that was Ukraine. Now throw into that the conflicting ideology of putin in stoking the nationalism of russia….all the while bringing in more and more immigrants, it’s caused a lot of problems for russians in russia.

        What happened in Ukraine could be the model for russians to cause a lot of problems for their own government…and putin and his cronies know it. This is why they’re clamping down so much on speech and thought crimes in russia.

        From what I read, there are russians in azov battalion.

        • http://ukrainianpolicy.com/ UkrainianPolicy

          Azov is a very interesting, unique unit for its makeup. Unfortunately, the negative elements overshadow the good.

          • Milton Devonair

            From what I read on the internet about them, they are a multi-national group of volunteers, so there’s going to be a mix. When people are fighting for their country, defending their country, a lot of the differences are meaningless. The enemies create and/or amplify any differences as that’s a weapon for them and clearly russia cannot be trusted on any level, especially during this ‘information war’.

            They could turn Chechnya into Cambodia like killing fields, but they couldn’t do that with Ukraine/Crimea, so the information war.

            Another thing–relatedly–free nations will have differing groups of people. In italy there are everyone from neo-nazis to avowed communists and everything between. It’s part of being a free nation of free people. In America we have all groups also.

            The biggest enemy of Ukraine now is Russia. Strong nationalists willing to fight is what kicked this off and is what has saved Ukraine.

  • evanlarkspur

    Whoops. Good short term opportunism utterly divorced from a long term strategy or any wisdom can make people think you are super sharp and way ahead of everyone else for a period, but then it all begins to unravel. Personally, I wondered what both Putin and the vocal minority in Crimea could possibly be thinking right from the beginning. In the modern world, without international recognition of a gov, its over.

  • sandy miller

    Are the Russians starting to regain their sanity? I hope so before this goes any further. They should be sending aid to eastern Ukraine for the damage their mercenaires have done. And paying for the victims killed by mercenaires. Maybe next time they’ll wanna consider being a civilized nationa of peaceful people and stop their expanistic ideas. Didn’t they learn anything from the Soviet era? You can’t invade others territory . You can’t force Ukrainians to heal under your domination.

    • Arctic_Slicer

      They should send aid though I wonder if this “aid” wont also include weapons meant to equip the terrorists.

    • Milton Devonair

      Russia would go broke paying for all their slaughter in Chechnya…and those russian killing fields are still going on….

  • Kruton

    Message to Putlerites,its all down hill from here.