Putin’s going off the rails is what you get when someone surrounds himself with yes-men for far too long and becomes isolated. This is why it’s important to keep a dialogue going at all times, no matter how hard it is.
What Putin may need now is a good faith sign from NATO. His beef seems to be more with NATO than with the EU.
But it needs to be impossible for Putin to see it as a sign of weakness. So it really needs to come from a place of strength. It could be a double whammy, so to speak. An act of force followed by an act of goodwill. (Wait. We’ve had the “act of force”. Putin was not expecting so much support for Ukraine from other countries.)
How different is Russian culture, Russian thinking? (traditionally, think Putin’s isolation, not modern life) Some of these oligarchs might know what could still get through to the guy?
He loves riding horses, doesn’t he? He has two or three daughters who he’s kept completely out of sight, apparently?
Putin sent his two daughters to *Germany*, for their safety, in the past?!
So he doesn’t see this war as a war against the West and it explains where his surprise and fury against the sanctions come from. He seems to believe it’s completely normal for him to attack Ukraine, fully within his right, sees it as a domestic issue. (Is restoring the Soviet Union his aim? Sounds like it.)
But this seems to indicate that there have to be ways of getting through to him. Who could do that? Merkel? What is she up to these days? Okay, she hasn’t exactly retired: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/merkel-condemns-russian-invasion-legacy-comes-under-scrutiny-2022-02-25/
That’s apart from hacking into the computer systems and approaching Russian military operatives to make them see that Putin has lost the plot, to block the deployment of nuclear arms. The latter is just as big a threat for them too. Putin sees threatening with nuclear weapons as one-directional, but it isn’t.
Ukraine seems to understand that. Its Telegram channel that is showing people in Russia who the Russian soldiers are was a smart move. People’s jaws are dropping in Russia as a result. “My brother is over there?!” It puts faces on this war, Russian faces. Of often young men who have nothing to gain from this war against Ukraine and everything to lose.
Russians are leaving flowers at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow.
The Russian authorities have arrested some 5,500 people who were making their opposition to the war clear, but there’s a limit to that these days. It’s no longer possible to arrest far too many people in secret. Beyond a certain point, the Russian people will revolt. It’s only natural.
(Who exactly was it in Russia who thought that shooting down MH17 would be seen as an act of aggression from Ukraine?)
Re Putin’s dream of restoring the Soviet Union, among some, there are strong similar sentiments in the UK too – about restoring Britain’s former glory – so some Brits may understand this. Specifically, Tories. What Putin is doing perhaps is not really that different from Britain hanging on to Chagos, the Falklands and Gibraltar and having stated that is is willing to wage war against Spain over Gibraltar. (Yes, this may be empty rhetoric from the UK, but it comes from a similar place, similar sentiments. So it may be a little hypocritical of Tories to condemn Putin’s words and actions…)
Meanwhile, the ruble has tanked and three Russian banks in Europe are on the verge of collapsing.