Restalinization of Russia: As it sinks into a

Restalinization of Russia: As it sinks into a

As he plunges into a war that he has unleashed, Russian President Vladimir Putin is also resorting to terror at home against his own citizens.

When Putin ordered the military invasion of Ukraine, he most likely dreamed of taking a first step toward rebuilding the Russian empire. This was not the case at all, and all he could do was re-establish Stalinist terror. And not only because he unleashed the most brutal unprovoked aggression in Europe since 1939, but also because he became a 21st century Stalin, embodying lies, violence and paranoia on an unprecedented level, writes the British magazine The Economist.

To understand the scale of Putin’s lies, we can look at how he planned this war. Putin believed that Ukraine would fall quickly, so he did not prepare his people or even his soldiers for the “special operation”.

After three terribly bloody weeks for both sides, Putin denies starting the biggest war since 1945. In order to support this huge lie, he suppressed all independent media, threatening journalists and anyone who uttered the word. ” war ”with 15 years in prison. He ordered thousands of arrests at the protests of the brave Russians demanding an end to the war. The national television, which daily broadcasts the message that the “military operation” is aimed at “denazification” of Ukraine, only restalinizes Russia, according to The Economist.

EXERCISES

To understand Putin’s appetite for violence, let’s look at how his army is fighting. After the blitzkrieg failed, Russia switched to the demoralizing tactics of the Ukrainians, bombing them daily and leaving them without water and food. On March 9, she hit a maternity hospital in Mariupol. And if Putin commits these war crimes against his fellow Slavs, whom he otherwise praises in his writings, then he is ready to slaughter his fellow citizens as well.

To measure his paranoia, let’s try to imagine the end of the war – Russia is militarily superior to Ukraine. And it continues to advance, especially in the south of the country. He really has a chance to conquer Kiev. And if the war lasts for months, Putin will still not be seen as a winner. Russia will impose, say, a new president in place of Volodymyr Zelensky. Ukrainians are united like a rock against the aggressor. Putin’s puppet will not be able to drive without the support of a military occupation, and Russia does not have the money to occupy even half of the Ukrainian territory.

American military doctrine says that to suppress an insurgency – in this case, one supported by NATO – the occupiers would need 20-25 soldiers per thousand inhabitants. And Russia now has about 4 soldiers per thousand Ukrainians.

scenarios

If Putin fails to impose a puppet government in Kyiv because he simply has no choice, then he will have to compromise on these peace talks. And even if he is content with a compromise, he will have a problem imposing it. If, after the war, Ukraine wants to join Western structures, what will it do? Will he invade it again?

The truth is that Putin has made a catastrophic mistake in attacking Ukraine. It has irreparably destroyed the reputation of the Russian army, which proves to be tactically incapable in the face of a weaker, poorly armed, but highly motivated rival. It has already lost thousands of soldiers and tons of military equipment in two weeks, almost as much as the United States has lost since the 2003 invasion of Iraq in all theaters of operations.

Putin has imposed destructive sanctions on his country. Russia’s central bank does not have access to the currency it needs to support the Russian banking system and stabilize the ruble. The big western companies have withdrawn. Some goods are already streamlined. Exports of vital components have been suspended so that factories can no longer operate.

And just as Stalin destroyed the bourgeoisie, Putin destroyed the middle class, the only engine of modernization. Instead of going to the gulag as they used to, many now go to Turkey or Armenia. Those who remain, in addition to daily hardships and increasingly difficult lives, are subjected to internally instituted terror.

distinction

Stalin led a growing economy. As murderous as it was, it was based on a real ideology – committing atrocities and at the same time consolidating the Soviet empire. And after being attacked by Nazi Germany, he was saved by the incredible sacrifice of his own people, who fought harder than any other people to win the war.

Putin has no Stalin assets on his side. Not only does he fail to win a war he has started, impoverishing his fellow citizens, but his regime has no ideological core. Putinism, if we call it that, mixes nationalism with orthodoxy and at most makes TV audiences. Russian territory spans no less than 11 time zones, and more and more Russians are muttering that it is really just the Moscow war.

RISK

As Putin’s failure becomes clearer, Russia enters the most dangerous moment of this conflict. Factions within the regime will start the bowel war, passing the blame from one to the other. Putin, who is afraid of a coup, no longer trusts anyone and will have to fight to keep his power. It is not out of the question to try to change the course of the war by terrifying Ukraine and the West with chemical weapons or even tactical nuclear strikes.

This danger must be limited. Putin’s lies must be exposed and the truth revealed. Western technology companies have made mistakes by shutting down their operations in Russia and allowing Putin’s regime to take control of the entire flow of information. And the governments that receive Ukrainian refugees should treat Russian refugees in the same way.

NATO can quell Putin’s violence – at least in Ukraine, by continuing to arm the country and support Zelensky if it decides it is time for serious negotiations. At the same time, it may increase Putin’s pressure by tightening and accelerating energy sanctions against Russia, even if the price is paid by the entire world economy.

The West can try to control the Kremlin leader’s paranoia. NATO must promise not to attack the Russians as long as they do not attack first. Under no circumstances should he give Putin a reason to drag Russia into a bigger war by declaring a “no fly zone” over Ukraine. And no matter how much the West wants a new leader in Moscow, it will have to make it clear that it will not get involved in a coup. Putin’s release belongs exclusively to the Russian people.

As Russia sinks, the contrast between Putin and Zelensky becomes huge. Putin is isolated and morally dead. Zelensky is the ordinary hero who has gathered a planet around him. It is the antithesis of Putin and the agent of revenge. Instead, Russia could become something else, once liberated by its 21st century Stalin, concludes The Economist.

crossroad

Vladimir Putin divides Russians into “patriots” and “traitors”, and Alexei Navalny says their stance on the war is crucial for Russia’s future.

“SELF-CLEANING”. On March 16, Putin said that Russia needed “self-cleansing” to “distinguish between patriots and traitorous misery.” He urged the Russian patriots to spit on the traitors, “just like a fly that accidentally entered their mouth.” CHOICE. Aleksei Navalny, who has been imprisoned since last fall, believes it is crucial whether or not the Russians really support the war against Ukraine. Russia’s place in the history of the 21st century depends on this position.