The article “Putin the Improviser” in the Wall Street Journal analyzes the attempts to figure out what the Putin’s strategy in Ukraine is.
The article describes this in the following way:
“After this week’s devastating military setbacks for the Ukrainian government, Western observers are trying urgently to get inside the head of Vladimir Putin. But the practitioners of this burgeoning cottage industry—call it Putinology—are missing one essential point: Mr. Putin has largely been improvising his way through the current crisis. That means that the Ukraine showdown is even scarier and more dangerous than you think: Mr. Putin is making it up as he goes along.
The Russian leader has routinely experimented with (and quickly jettisoned) any number of concepts, strategies and approaches, all in the name of gaining short-term advantage. Mr. Putin may be living “in another world,” as German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly suggested to President Barack Obama—but in our world, which Mr. Putin is busily remaking, he seems to think that keeping his opponents guessing and off-balance is an end in itself.
In opinion columns and books, the Putinologists have been struggling to explain the thinking of the man who, almost single-handedly, seems to be dragging much of the West into a new Cold War. Like their Kremlinologist forebears, they try to decode Moscow’s intentions through painstaking analyses of the Russian leader’s every public utterance or symbol-laden photo op; they comb through minute aspects of Mr. Putin’s career and private life; they sift for clues in the output of Russia’s sprawling state propaganda apparatus. A lucky few even get invited to come to Russia once a year to sit down over elegant meals with the man himself and other mandarins and courtiers who spin them on how things look from Moscow.”
That’s true – that is the way how the Punitologists are trying to figure out what Putin’s intentions are.
However, it is difficult, or even almost impossible, to figure out the Putin’s world strategy by analyzing his tactical movements on Ukraine or somewhere else.
It is much easier if the analysis is based on the Russian history and true spiritual aspirations.
The Russian history has been driven by the belief in the Russian spiritual uniqueness whatever it might be, and by the fear that external enemies, always with the help of internal adversaries, are trying to conquest Russia to suppress its spiritual uniqueness. In order to prevent the conquest, Russia has to be first in defeating all potential enemies. That is a millennium-long history of Russia in the course of which Russia became the largest territory-wise country in the world.
The Russian history is not a history of moving, slowly step by step, from dictatorship to freedom - the Russian history is a search for a good dictator (a tsar, a general secretary, a president …) who is able to defend the “Russian uniqueness” and take good care of his subjects. The Russian history is a history of defending the “Russian uniqueness” and not taking good care of the subjects.
In order to withstand all external enemies Russia has to have a strong ruler-dictator and Putin is one of the best in Russian history – now he is trying to prevent the Western democracies from undermining the “Russian uniqueness” using Ukraine as a “Trojan Horse”.
Putin can be stopped only by Western-democracies’ force that means by a new cold war. However, the Western democracies are now demoralized because of the lack of traditional American leadership (of course thanks to Obama). It looks like in the next two years Putin is going to be very successful in assaulting the vital areas of Western interest and weakening the Western Judeo-Christian world. Then a new American President, if we find a proper one, would have a very difficult task of regaining the strength of Western civilization.
Why the Western civilization has to be strengthened by fighting “Russian uniqueness”? Putin understands clearly that Russia with its 100% government-controlled spiritual and economic enterprises cannot create the economy comparable to that of Western Judeo-Christian countries with their free-market spiritual and economic system. That’s why he is interested in confrontation with the West to justify the lack of progress on “taking care of his subjects” by the need to defend “Russian uniqueness” which is under threat from the West.