This can change, reshape the tactics of hostilities, causing their long, protracted nature. In this case, the Russian economy will find itself in further recession, new sanctions will be introduced, in particular, against the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the Russian Federation worth 132 billion dollars. In order to prolong the war, Russia will invent an excuse to justify complete mobilization, because the human resource thrown into the war with Ukraine is rapidly drying up.
If Russia decides on a protracted war, the sowing campaign in Ukraine will be disrupted. Already now it is impossible to carry out agricultural work in the usual volume, and the expansion of the geography of hostilities, which is inevitable in such a scenario, will jeopardize the safety of the crop. Therefore, already this year the world will face a big problem with food security, and some countries will be on the verge of starvation.
Threat of radioactive contamination of Europe. Russia is fighting near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, fires of radioactive forests continue as a result of shelling. Already, the concentration of cesium and strontium in the Kyiv region is above the permissible limits. The Kremlin is posing all of humanity to unprecedented risk and unaware of the possible consequences.
Russia is desperately looking for an excuse that will justify a nation-wide mobilization. This could be a provocation with chemical weapons, a terrorist attack or a massive shelling, the blame for which will be laid on Ukraine. Russia wants mass casualties among the Russians: their number should amount to hundreds or thousands – and it can decide on this bloody crime in order to continue the war.
A split is brewing within the Russian ruling elite. The Kremlin has gone too far in its bloody military adventure, and Putin will inevitably look for the culprits. In particular, the disappearance from TV screens of the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation S. Shoigu is widely discussed. It is believed that in the near future in Russia there will be mass dismissals of the heads of those structures and military units that are directly or indirectly involved in the war with Ukraine. In any case, this will lead to changes in the nature of hostilities, and possibly of political dialogue.
Russia will gradually intensify censorship, suppress glasnost and freethinking. The current socio-political situation in the Russian Federation contributes to its transformation into the USSR analogue during the reign of N. Khrushchov, when there were significant internal repressions and direct confrontation with the West at the global level. Putin had initially underestimated the West’s response to its aggression against Ukraine and has now decided to go all the way until either the outcome of the war desired by the Kremlin is achieved or he suffers losses that would make it unable to continue the war.
The countries of Eastern Europe are in the greatest danger of starting a real war since 1945, especially Poland, the Baltic States and Moldova. The Russian military strategy envisages attacking NATO supply chains with military assistance for Ukraine, as well as the deployment of Russian troops at the border with Transnistria. Russia wants to completely cut off Ukraine from the sea and create a quasi-state from the PMR to Kharkov. If this succeeds, the Russians would create a provocation to justify their invasion of Moldova and Romania with further access to Bulgaria. Putin set out to return to Moscow’s control those countries that were once in the orbit of influence of the Russian Empire/USSR.
Russia uses lies and disinformation all-round. Contrary to Putin’s words that “Russia does not aim to occupy the territory of Ukraine”, the actions of the Russian troops are a classic occupation and the creation of the necessary prerequisites for the rapid integration of the occupied territories into the economic, logistics, scientific, educational, and information sectors of the Russian Federation. The Kremlin uses the same old tactics of the Russian Empire: the progressive absorption of adjacent territories. The same scenario awaits Poland, the Baltic countries, Moldova, if Russian military aggression spreads to these countries.
China’s tactic is to wait until a winner is decided. The PRC will voice pro-Russian narratives, but will not openly support the Kremlin. Beijing is interested in weakening both Russia and the West, and war is the perfect geopolitical storm.
The Russian economy is facing the next stage of decline. It is predicted that the Russian economy will gradually return to the state of the 90s after the collapse of the USSR. All efforts will be directed towards the self-sufficient, and in those areas where this is impossible – towards refusal. At the same time, in case of “freezing” of the war, some Western companies will try to find a loopholes to return to Russia.