Vladimir Putin’s problems now go beyond the fact that his Russian military has been failing to make advances in Ukraine. As these things tend to go, the momentum is now shifting in Ukraine’s direction – and the United States government now says that Ukraine is in position to begin retaking territory from the Russian forces.
This has led one expert to predict that the Russian military is facing the prospect of “mass surrenders and desertions.” We’ve already seen Putin on television, threatening to retaliate against the Russian people if they dare to turn against him. Presumably, Putin would use law enforcement and/or his remaining troops to try to crack down on the Russian public.
What will Putin do if his own military begins giving up and abandoning the fight? It’s difficult to use your military to crack down on your own people if your military is busy going AWOL and surrendering to the opponent. Putin recently, and seemingly reluctantly, sent reinforcements to fight in Ukraine. Just how few troops does he have left back at home – and how many of them could end up going AWOL in order to avoid getting shipped off to Ukraine? Putin is now in the kind of bad situation that tends to keep making itself worse.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report