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As Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine enters its 5th month, the end is nowhere in sight. Evidently, the Russian soldiers were ill-prepared to fight a war. But Putin seems oblivious to the Russian casualties. The estimated 25,000 – 50,000 deaths on each side, tens of thousands of civilian lives that have been lost, and 10 million who have been displaced, do not affect Putin. Instead, he is leveling Ukraine’s cities, towns, and infrastructure, and has already caused an estimated $1 trillion in damages.
Putin has publicly likened himself to the Russian empire builder Emperor Peter the Great (1672-1725), who extended the Russian empire westward and fought a 21-year war with Sweden. Today, Russia is the largest country in the world, controlling over ten percent of the world’s land.
Although Putin had repeatedly voiced his intention to rebuild the Soviet Empire, Russia observers say he decided to launch this war one or two years ago, when he became ill. However, it is more likely that Putin’s decision was made because he did not worry about the reaction of the ineffective Biden administration.
Putin intends to keep fighting to solidify his control over the territory he already occupies in Eastern Ukraine, and if not stopped, he will continue the war to take over the rest of the country. Unless Putin is defeated, he will extend the war to neighboring Moldova, and the Baltic states, to rebuild the former Soviet Empire.
Putin falsely claimed he had to take over Ukraine and recapture the former Soviet Republics to shield the motherland from NATO encirclement and potential invasion. However, speaking at the Hudson Institute, former State Secretary Mike Pompeo stated last month that Putin knew NATO, which is still underfunded, had no intention or capability to invade Russia at that time.
Putin is clearly not afraid of the US, which is being badly mismanaged by the incompetent and confused President Joe Biden, whose Defense Secretary is set on eroding the U.S. military’s capabilities.
Similarly, Putin does not fear the toothless EU. He believes no one can stop him. He also seems to assume that the West will tire of arming and funding Ukraine. He thinks Russia can out-wait everyone else. Meanwhile, oil, natural gas, and wheat prices are getting higher, and helping to finance his war.
As of now, the Russian people seem to support their Czar Putin. Using his vast media disinformation apparatus, Putin has apparently convinced the Russian public that the motherland will be threatened by Ukraine’s joining NATO.
However, Putin’s government cannot guarantee economic stability and growth to its population. The country’s total population is 145 million and it declines about 1% annually. Russia is suffering a massive brain drain of talented citizens. Close to 500,000 Russians are fleeing the country annually. These citizens could have created new businesses, future economic growth, good jobs, and higher living standards. Without this talent, Russia will have to sell its natural resources to the world until they run out.
The sanctions on Russia have dried up foreign investments, and many corporations have already left the country. Russia is now mostly on its own, aided by one significant friend – China, as well as a client state, Iran.
In contrast to Russia, China has decided to adopt, (or more accurately, to steal) foreign technology. China targets 4-5% economic growth, following its current recession. On the other hand, Russia has had no economic growth during the past ten years and is unlikely to have any GDP growth for the next ten years. It is already facing a recession. How long can a country survive when it manages itself with total disregard for its people and the soldiers who protect them? Not long.
So here are our suggestions for President Putin:
1) Negotiate a permanent ceasefire with Ukraine, return the territories you’ve captured and settle on reparations for the damages to the lives and property of the Ukrainian people. Instead of spending untold fortunes on fighting Ukraine, develop the Black Sea’s coastal facilities, that remained under Russian control after the Soviet Union’s demise, into functioning ports. Both countries will promise no guerilla warfare against each other.
2) If indeed the reports of your failing health are accurate, your expert physicians should share their diagnosis with the best specialists in the world, and consult with them on the therapeutic options available, including some of the numerous experimental drugs currently in clinical trials in the US and Europe. The US government and the EU would guarantee access to such drugs as needed.
3) Instead of escalating the war by using Russia’s latest sophisticated submarine and supersonic missiles, you should take our suggestions to heart and stop the escalation of his war against Ukraine before it leads into a nuclear war. You should refocus on growing Russia’s economy with the help of your talented people. And most of all, end the war, so Russia can once again join the family of the international community.