While Vladimir Putin tried to invade Ukraine as a flex of his own might, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. It’s probably not much of a stretch to say that – when looking at some of his rather bizarre recent antics – he might actually be believing his own propaganda about Ukraine, the country he already tried to annex back in 2014 seeing the Russian army as liberators. To put us in perspective of where Russia is right now – they’ve already deployed all 190,000 of their troops, in an invasion that was planned for several months and has already suffered serious casualties on the Russian side. While his strategy relied on a swift victory, the Russians haven’t even managed to take any substantial population centers of Ukraine, let alone be hailed as liberators.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the war is over – or that things can’t get worse than they already have, but at this point, it’s difficult to see how Putin’s attempted occupation of a neighboring country – part of his hope of rebuilding the Soviet Union he’s nostalgic for – becomes anything less than an existential crisis. Controlling Ukraine alone would be near impossible, without worrying about outside resistance or the very likely scenario where Ukraine resorts to guerrilla tactics – forcing the Russian army into a long and costly war that will inevitably siphon away much of Putin’s support at home. Whatever happens next, he’s miles away from anything he hoped to achieve in this conflict.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making