Putins ONLY Achilles heel exposed as looming schism poses immediate threat

Russia: 40 mile military convoy travels to Kyiv

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According to the academic Dr Samuel Ramani, there is one thing that could force Putin to halt the military operations against Ukraine, and the deterioration of the humanitarian catastrophe. Mr Ramani is an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies and International Relations Tutor at the University of Oxford.

Examining Russia’s geopolitical situation, he claims that Putin will go on with military pressure against Ukraine “until he achieves a success that he frames as a legacy or identity construction win”.

However, according to the expert, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Putin will go on until the occupation of Ukraine, but he “will continue pursuing regime change”.

Therefore, and given Putin’s framing of the war as analysed by Mr Ramani, the Russian President is unlikely to be discouraged by sanctions or diplomacy, since he has a core base of support.

The academic argues that the only thing that could halt the military operations would be internal instability threatening his regime.

He said: “Only an intra-elite schism, which poses an immediate threat to his regime, might cause him to recalibrate, and even then, most likely only temporarily.”

Mr Ramani, who completed his doctoral thesis at Oxford last year on Russia’s military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, says the current war should not necessarily be attributed to geopolitical opportunism.

He suggests that it is intriguing how Russia invaded Ukraine when “its great power status was rising and there was no immediate threat to Putin’s regime.”

Referring to the 2014 war, he claims that Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Black Sea foothold “was not rationally worth the cost of Western sanctions.“

And he continues: “Even in Syria, Russia embarked on a potentially high-risk, uncertain reward mission that ended up succeeding.”

On the other hand, the expert suggests that the war cannot be a result of regime insecurity either.

He says: “The 2011-12 protests might have influenced Russian alarmism about Euro-Maidan and the Arab Spring, but there was no serious threat of unrest diffusing from Kyiv and Cairo to Moscow.

“Putin has instead used military interventions as a tool of legacy-building and identity construction.

“He is focused on the long-term legitimacy of his regime and Russia’s political system.

“Hence, he is willing to take excessive short-term risks and incur geopolitical costs.”

Therefore, according to Mr Ramanin, what matters for Putin is Russia’s “image of greatness” and he has achieved to rationalise the cost of the war to the Russian people.

The real aim of Putin, the expert suggests, is to showcase Moscow’s control over its sphere of influence.

To him, the war in Ukraine is an “identity construction and authoritarian consolidation project.”

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