MOSCOW (Realist English). Political scientist Tatiana Stanovaya told in her telegram channel about three features of the political situation in Russia as of the beginning of 2023. The Realist News Agency cites the text of the post in full:
1️. [Vladimir] Putin’s dependence on the Russian military has grown dramatically. At the same time, the military themselves are completely “crushed” under the political leadership and do not have subjectness, which means one should not expect them to try to influence the president. But all of Putin’s “legacy”, all of his grandiose plans to restore historical justice, not to mention his own future and physical security, now directly depend on the people at the frontline. Judging by the flow of gratitude and appreciation, even some kind of ingratiation with the military, Putin is acutely aware of this imbalance that has formed not in his favor.
2. Russia’s initiative has been lost. If one looks at Putin’s speeches at the end of February and compare them with current statements, especially his very revealing press conference on December 22, one would see how in this geopolitical war the initiative slipped out of the Kremlin’s hands. Now, in order to win, Russia needs to wait for changes where it does not control anything (few doubt that it will not be possible to put an end to the conflict by military means). That is, the West should collapse, and the Ukraine should capitulate. Russia is not very good at promoting this, to put it mildly. Hence the increasingly active game of mercy, truce and attempts to persuade the world to force the Ukraine to abandon the offensive. This is the number one task today. I’m not sure what will happen.
3️. A creeping militarization has begun. No matter how Putin persuaded himself that there would be no militarization (as he said at the expanded collegium of the Ministry of Defense), it is already actively going on in the minds, including of the president himself. On his part, promises not to militarize are guile.
Reality takes its toll and dictates more adequate behavior to the authorities, which is normal. Therefore, militarization will be one of the main trends, at least in the first half of 2023. The war will come into professional, cultural, educational everyday life… Everyone will be “at the front” one way or another, if not physically, then psychologically.
It’s hard to predict, but Putin will have to change his attitude towards the Ukraine one way or another and become more realistic. This gives hope, albeit a very fragile one, Stanovaya believes.