今, with unrest in his backyard, Europe preoccupied with COVID and a U.S. president who looks disengaged and distracted, Putin appears to be on the prowl again. 今回, in his old hunting ground: Ukraine.
An unprecedented military build-up on the Ukrainian border suggests Putin plans to use Russian forces in a full-blown military engagement with that already war-torn country. The goal would be to gain significant territories, 与える モスクワ 直接, in-land access to Crimea – the territory he forcefully wrested from Ukraine in 2014.
If this endeavor succeeds, and if costs (both financial, but military) 許可する, Putin might also set his sights on taking Odessa and everything to the East of river Dnepr.
Risky? はい. But if he pulls it off, Putin stands to reap tremendous benefits: a huge popularity boost at home and another demonstration of the West’s incapacity to deal with the Russia strongman. If allowed, this will be the most important military success of the Russian Federation since the end of the Cold War.
There is a real possibility Putin may take this dare. 結局, he’s done it before.
It started with Chechnya. に 1999 プーチン, a then largely unknown politician, was installed atop the Russian power system. Shortly thereafter, Russian troops entered Chechnya, with Moscow establishing direct control of the country by May 2000. By year’s end, Putin’s approval rate had jumped to 84%.
数年後, with his approval rate down to 66%, Putin invaded Georgia. His approval rate quickly elevated to 88%.
By November 2013, economic problems had sent his job approval ratings south once more (に 61%). But with the 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea, his popularity rebounded to 89% by summer of 2015.
Putin’s approval rating has trended downward since April 2018. Though still high by Western standards, it has fluctuated between 68% そして 59% 最後に 12 月. But the Russian economy is not doing well, and Putin’s handling of the pandemic has been even worse – factors that may well drive approval even lower. As we’ve seen, Putin often follows declining approval rates with approval-boosting military campaigns.
Forewarned is forearmed. The West needs a clear strategy to prevent new Russian aggression against Ukraine. Cosmetic measures will not do the job.