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Putin has Gambled Everything on His Snap-Invasion of Ukraine, Now His Political Survival in Russia is in Doubt

Photograph Source: GoToVan – CC BY 2.0

War transforms the political landscape in radical and unexpected ways. By invading Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has made an unforced error of historic proportions that will put his own survival as Russian leader in doubt if and when Russians begin to understand that he has plunged them and their country into an unwinnable war.

Moscow is seeking a decisive victory with the overthrow of the Ukrainian government and the surrender of its army. “What we’re talking about is preventing Nazis and those who push methods of genocide to rule in this country,” said foreign minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday. “Right now, the regime that is located in Kyiv is under two mechanisms of external control: first, the West, led by the United States, and secondly, neo-Nazis.”

Talks would only begin when the Ukrainian army laid down its arms. These are maximalist targets that are unlikely to be achieved by 190,000 Russian troops who are under orders to overrun and pacify a country nearly three times the size of Britain and with a population of 44 million.

Stiff resistance