Analyst Anton Barbashin interprets the words of the Russian president for Fanpage.it. Incidents of coercion were reported for “voluntary” enrollment in the armed forces. While the true aims of the Kremlin remain obscure. That “may want more and more”.
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“No chance for diplomacy”: Vladimir Putin’s speech at the parade on May 9 indicates that the war “will continue at least until the end of the summer,” he says Anton Barbashin editorial director of Riddle, specialized publication on Russian politics. Even if the president has not officially announced it, “there will be a hidden mobilization, to enlist as many people as possible”. Even with coercive methods, Barbashin explains to Fanpage.it
Do Putin’s words prove that the Tsar is on the ropes?
He has in no way claimed that Russia is winning or that it is achieving the goals it set itself. She hasn’t set any time limits. I would not say that from the speech it is clear that Putin is forced into the corner. But Putin’s words reflect the fact that things are not going the way he wanted. He told the Russians that they should expect the conflict to continue in the months to come.
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Is there still room for diplomacy, according to what the president said?
No, not at the moment. The speech focused on the need to achieve military victory and to continue fighting in Ukraine. Even if he never mentioned Ukraine but only the fight against the West or at least against the enemies. A struggle waged in what Russia claims to be its own historical territory, as Putin pointed out. Rejecting the very existence of Ukraine. And in his words there was no mention of diplomacy. He has in no way recognized that it is necessary. From this point of view, there is no positive news either on the Russian side or on the Ukrainian side. For now, both sides continue to justify the war and throw more and more resources into the conflict.
The president did not proclaim victory but insisted on the Russian struggle against the West and what he defines as “Nazism”. Did he manage to give an ideological cover to the conflict?
He tried to compare this war to that of the USSR against Nazi Germany. Remembering that, of victories. And highlighting the losses suffered then and today in Ukraine. The message is that it is good and right to sacrifice oneself for something greater. As the Soviets did in World War II.
The Russian population supports the war, but there is not all this enthusiasm. It is a support based on a mix of not all positive feelings – say the sociologists. But do the Russians understand what is happening in Ukraine?
No. Most Russians have the idea that propaganda provides them. According to which the Moscow armed forces are fighting the Nazis and are not hitting civilian targets in Ukraine. Above all, the majority of Russians think that NATO wanted the war. The population has a very distorted idea of what is happening and of the responsibilities that lie behind it. The fault lies with the West, they say. And they don’t want to hear anything else. Any attempt to explain how things actually are touches sensitive chords and is doomed to fail. It is difficult to convince them that things are the opposite of what the propaganda claims. So when it is said that the Russians support the war it is true. But their support is for a very peculiar version of the war.
However, the population appears to have at least partially mobilized since the so-called “special military operation” began. And social mobilization is a feature of totalitarian regimes. Is the regime’s authoritarianism turning into totalitarianism?
Of course this is not the authoritarianism of the 1930s, but lately the system has certainly become tougher, and the war in Ukraine is a catalyst for this process.
Putin has not indicated ways to end this war. Does that mean it will still be long?
He said “no price is too high” for victory. And that Russia will continue to fight. But the objective problem is that Russia does not have sufficient resources: the armed forces do not have enough personnel to achieve the intended war objectives. For this reason, the Kremlin wonders if it is not the case to proclaim a mobilization of the country and call the population en masse to arms.
But is it really possible? Would it be digested by the population?
The population, in general, does not want to go to fight in Ukraine. I therefore do not believe that mass mobilization will be proclaimed. We will try to enlist as many people as possible but without any proclamation. It will be a “special” or hidden mobilization. Citizens will be persuaded to volunteer.
Also using coercive methods? On social media we read of workers called to medical tests in view of a “voluntary” enlistment, under penalty of dismissal or prison. He also wrote about it Verstka.Media.
An alternative to mobilization, if the times of war are to be accelerated, is an escalation. Which could also be nuclear.
I believe that the references to the possibility of a nuclear escalation and a third world war are only rhetorical. It is a possibility, a hypothesis. But the likelihood of it going that far seems minimal to me. Of course, it all depends on the mental health of Russian policy makers.
How will it end?
The possibility is that either side runs out of strength, or that it happens to both. In the case of Russia, the problem is the financial and military resources that will have to be transferred to the Ukrainian theater. I would say the time limit is the end of the summer for Russia’s involvement in the conflict. It is too early to foresee anything beyond that margin, because we do not know how the fighting will go or whether the Russian economy will be able to withstand the war and sanctions. But in the coming months it will certainly be war. In his speech, and indeed even earlier, Putin did not establish any understandable final purpose of the operation. So technically the war could be fought on multiple fronts as long as Ukraine exists. All this is open to different interpretations. So far, however, it appears that the president intends to continue hostilities for as long as necessary until some kind of military victory is achieved. Thanks to which he can declare Moscow’s success and impose an agreement on Kyiv according to Russian conditions. But this is an optimistic view, all in all. Because, as far as it goes, Putin may want to achieve much more than just a military victory. In short, things do not bode well at all.