As the invasion of Ukraine drags on, Russia more and more approaches complete isolation from the West, and that outcome by now appears to be all but a certainty.
From the relative stability of the Soviet Union to the promising hope of a Russia in transition under Mikhail Gorbachev, the superpower is entering a desperate corner — all by its own initiative.
For the greater part of the last two decades, Russia has been menacing, but reliably with a covert strategy, and has also reliably been a major energy exporter. Russia’s political feuds did not destroy its deep economic with European nations.
Now, those countries are set on a permanent trajectory to new energy and import sources, irrespective of whether the invasion ends tomorrow. Having seen modern Russia’s potential for betrayal, Germany and other countries with longstanding economic partnerships with Russia will look elsewhere. The mysterious explosions on the Nord Stream I and II certainly do not help Russia’s chance at future trade.
At the same time, Ukraine will likely become part of NATO in the future. Russia has politically isolated itself — the West united to provide Ukraine support. Russia has economically debilitated itself — European trade agreements are no more. Russia has geographically cornered itself — NATO will sit closer to the border.
But it’s not Russia as a single-minded, collective entity that is driving itself into the ground. Rather, it’s Putin and his closest entourage who are carelessly sending his people to their deaths. Putin started the invasion; Putin wants this war. Putin is not the one whose quality of life is now in steep decline due to economic isolation.
Growing unrest in Russia with the latest draft underscores Russia’s internal conflict at present. Engineers, teachers, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs now seek to leave the country en masse, leaving Russia bare of innovation and creativity.
The younger generations have forgotten the Russia full of culture and history and invention. Russia’s international image now is cruelty. Clearly, the average Russian citizen prefers to avoid this route.
Putin, however, as his army becomes continuously weaker, may soon have nothing to lose. He will make another wild decision.
With Putin at the head, this invasion will never end with Russia accepting complete withdrawal from Ukraine. In fact, Putin further confirmed his position by laying claim to Ukrainian land not fully controlled by his army.
Last year, the world thought it impossible that Putin would invade Ukraine. We can’t predict black swans, but this one seems fast approaching. There is no future with Putin’s Russia.