Foreign and Defense Policy, Europe and Russia

Following the annexation of Crimea, what’s next on Putin’s agenda?

Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chOzBkA8aIQ

Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chOzBkA8aIQ

Following the annexation of Crimea, what’s next on Putin’s agenda? This will depend on Putin’s cost-benefit analysis vis-à-vis the three original targets of the Crimean takeover.

  • Target 1: Ukraine – which is to be punished, humiliated, de-stabilized and, if possible, de-railed.
  • Target 2: the “West” (the US, EU, NATO) – to be intimidated and if possible paralyzed as far as the sanctions on Russia are concerned.
  • Target 3 (the most important):  Putin’s domestic political base — currently rallied around the flag– and Putin will soon face a grim economic reality – likely stagflation, a plunging ruble against the dollar and the euro and growing food prices – in addition to the already very sour views of the regime’s morality as shown in public opinion polls.

If Putin feels that the costs might begin to exceed the benefits for further action in Ukraine, he will stop and wait for a response from Russians at home and the West. If he feels that he can and should do more to advance on his three targets, then he will continue.

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4 thoughts on “Following the annexation of Crimea, what’s next on Putin’s agenda?

  1. Putin is looking like a Russian Cesar Chavez. This looks ugly. I don’t see much of a future for Putin or Russia…Ukraine one of the most corrupt nations on earth…sometimes the sense of the Founding Fathers is right: avoid foreign entanglements…

  2. From NYT:

    ATOTSI, Georgia — As Crimeans danced in the streets this week, giddy at the prospect of being gathered into Russia, few were watching as closely as the residents of the tiny mountainous enclave of South Ossetia, who, five and a half years ago, were similarly ecstatic.

    –30–

    I have no idea is the lede paragraph is a fair summary of the mood in Crimea.

    But maybe the population of Crimea wants to be in Russia. Sounds like it.

    It this really something the USA should get involved in?

  3. I think you’re underestimating the psychological instability of Putin and his desperation to see a rebuilt USSR.

    There were suggestions, attributed to Merkel, that Putin has “lost his mind”, and although she later denied saying this explicitly, it has to be suggested that the invasion of Crimea was an extremely volatile and risky move, indeed the actions of a man not thinking rationally or clearly.

    He’s sacrificed and risked a hell of a lot for Crimea. Russia has just spent $50bil on Sochi, and it was forgotten within 48 hours of the closing ceremony. He knows Crimea will be hard to control, and will need propping up economically. Its rejection by the rest of the world will compound this, and the economic stability of Russia too. Tourism has collapsed there, the youth will be fleeing, Ukraine and other neighboring nations are building closer ties to Europe and increasing their involvement with NATO… I could go on.

    All of this is a lot to trade for nothing more than complete control of a peninsula he already had under Russian influence anyway.

    I have a feeling he’s in this for the long-haul, and everything suggests that he’s going for the full prize of a reunited USSR, taking it back by force. Nothing else makes any sense to me. Russian politicians have already started whispering of other “at risk Russians” in other former Soviet states, indicating that there is a hunger for further military incursions.

    I truly believe he has lost his mind. I believe he’s having delusions of a grand resurrection of the Soviet Empire, and he’s willing to throw everything into it no matter the cost or the risk of all-out war.

    The real question is, what will the USA and NATO do if Russia moves north into E Ukraine, or even into one of their other previous Soviet regions? I fully believe this is coming. Maybe not this month or the next, but some time this year he’s going to test the world further, driven by voices in his head demanding that he “rebuild Russia”.

  4. Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; who rules the World-Island controls the world.” (Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality, 1919)

    Putin is neither mad nor an idiot. His foreign policy is straightforward and easily discernable. Europe and the US are weak ideologically and militarily and are inward looking with extremely weak leadership on all fronts. Putin is exploiting that weakness. Syria was a test case. absolutley no resistance. Putin knows he can walk into Ukraine and the Baltic states without resistance and he will. Its 1938 all over again.

    From a World Politik perspective, who can blame him.

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