Vladimir Putin spoke to a group of business students today on the future of Russia and on the 'special operation' in the Ukraine. During this talk he spoke of the need for Russia to regain some of its lost territories in order to ensure her security in light of events today. In order to achieve those goals he announced that Russia has expanded its current plans and will secure half of Ukraine, Transnistria and the Baltic states.
Putin mused that “During the war with Sweden, Peter the Great did not win anything, he took back what always belonged to us, even though the whole of Europe have recognized it as Sweden. It seems now it's our turn to take back our lands [smiling]
A video of his talk (with English subtitles) can be found here, at the bottom of the Greek article.
It would appear that the 'hard-liners' in the Kremlin, notably Nikolai Patrushev, a former FSB associate of Putin and known 'hawk', Kremlin adviser Sergey Karaganov plus the former president and Vice-president of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev are on the war path.
Medvedev in a recent 'Telegram' post let the world in how how he feels about the United States and the 'west' in general, saying,
“I hate them (Westerners). They are bastards and degenerates. They want us, Russia, dead. As long as I live, I will do my best to make them disappear”
“Consolidation of the post-Soviet space was considered an absolutely necessary condition for Russia’s return to the status of a great power and for ensuring its rapid and sustainable development. “
Lately Russia’s security services are exerting more influence on foreign policy, according to Andrey Kortunov, director of the Russian International Affairs Council, a think tank advising the Kremlin. Mr. Korunov, in an April 2022 interview with RT News echoes Karaganov's position, and now Putin's position on how Russia needs to proceed from here when he states that the,
Korunov was refering to the position he and others had taken subsequent to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of fifteen independent states which are collectively considered 'post soviet space'.
Perhaps it is because the old Soviet Union has not finished collapsing, nor has post-soviet space rid themselves of Russia. Sergey Markedonov of the Russian International Affairs Council highlighted the position of Vladimir Putin and his government towards these newly formed states in a 2015 article for the council, where he states that,
“Moscow would like the disintegration of the Soviet Union to be carried to its logical conclusion (when all the countries have sorted out their border claims and are able to proceed to establish pragmatic, if not good-neighbourly relations) as an “internal matter” for the former union republics.
However, many new independent states are interested in the participation of external players. This is also in the interests of the West, which fears “re-Sovietization” in the broad sense: not only or largely as a communist comeback, but as the establishment of a Russian sphere of political influence outside the control of the United States and its allies.”
In December of 2020, Andrey Sushentsov, another foreign policy adviser to the Kremlin suggests that,
“All the new states of Eurasia - fragments of the Soviet Union - are united by the presence of Russian communities, which in the overwhelming majority of post-Soviet countries have become the largest national minority. This circumstance has become a significant internal political challenge and an additional factor in relations between these countries and Russia.
Many states have to balance between nationalist circles and the need to ensure the rights of the Russian minority. The incomplete nature of the collapse of the USSR echoes current politics and complicates the equation of successful foreign policy for the young states. “
In an earlier post, 'Russia Without Putin' I had expressed a fear that the hard-liners within the Kremlin would take control in the absence of Vladimir Putin and turn the 'special operation' into a wider conflict. The fact that this is happening with Putin still in place means either that he is losing his grip on the security services or that he believes it is finally time to carry out plans he helped put together over thirty years ago, which may very well be what is happening.
Russia is in an enviable financial position now that it has tied its currency to gold (Follow The Golden Ruble) blunting the effect of western sanctions and giving Russia the resources to maintain a war footing for many years. During his talk before the business students today Putin said that Russians will be better off in ten years, presumably when Russia has been reassembled.
Despite what western media is saying, the military controlled by Kiev, with tons of soviet era military equipment and an influx of western weapons and soldiers has all but collapsed in the face of Putin's 'special operation', and this has taken less than 14% of Russia's standing military resources to achieve. Should Russia move into Europe they will have little opposition from a relatively weak NATO while the largest powers close to Russia, China and India refuse to bow to western pressure and abandon their friendship with Moscow.
At this moment the only threat to Russia's ambitions are the Israelis and the Saudis who's geopolitical and resource export dreams are being hindered by Russia's presence on the African continent. Israel and Saudi Arabia both harbour nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and have also purchased the missile technology to deliver said weapons across the Mediterranean.
We will see how long it takes and how much of Europe that Russia attempts to 'recover' before those missile fly however in the mean time Europe, and by extension the whole world is going to be thrown into economic and political chaos for many months to come. Stock up and hunker down.