By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
The difference between a gambler and a dictator is that a gambler has his own money at stake but a dictator on the contrary has a whole country at stake. The war is going terribly bad for Russia. It’s almost unbelievable that a country that fought its way to the gates of Berlin is finding it difficult to hold on to Kherson in Ukraine.
It’s a very important lesson in statecraft, you can force people to chant your name in a rally but can’t force them to fight for you. Despite all the media at his disposal, with full control of levers of power, Putin is finding it difficult to get volunteers to fight in the war with Ukraine. Infrastructure is being targeted in Russia and embarrassing failures and mistakes are committed by Russian generals and the military. It seems except for Putin, no one in Russia wants to fight this war.
Another interesting thing about this conflict is that the country that supplies weapons globally had to use weapons from other countries, for ex. The low-grade Iranian-made drones that are used by Russia speak volumes of gaps in its logistical and procurement side of the war machine. Another important point is that Russia has not been able to stop supplies of arms and aid that have been reaching Ukraine. Urban warfare and guerrilla tactics also make fighting difficult in cities but that is why strategies are made to cut-off enemy supplies.
I have a feeling that many in the Russian chain of command want Putin to lose this war, otherwise, these glaring mistakes would not have been made. Not everything goes according to plan in a war but one learns to adapt to changing situations on the ground, which unfortunately the Russian side has failed to do. I will not be surprised if Russia has moles at the highest level leaking information to Ukrainians or NATO. Now Ukrainian advances and victories will have another effect of denting the image of Putin’s strongman persona and reputation is all that a strongman has. In order to cement his authority among the domestic audience, he may decide to use a tactical nuclear option which will be devastating for Ukraine, Europe, and all who are involved in this conflict. It may not be an immediate possibility but that possibility will become stronger with each Russian loss.
Ukraine and Russia in the end will be drained of material, financial and human resources. The arguments that could have been resolved peacefully are now being resolved on the battlefield, which will only fan the fire. This war is already taking a toll on the global economy and will have much serious implications for Europe if it continues. As mankind, we are finding new ways to obliterate ourselves. Whether it is through war or climate change, as a species we are destined to bring our own doom.