Almost two months after the start of the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine, in the heart of Kremlin there are those who begin to ask themselves some questions. In particular, a growing number of professionals and senior officials would be asking themselves about the state of the conflict itself, about how many of the stated objectives were achieved and at what cost in human lives and economic resources, but also, more generally, about A Vladimir Putin’s decision to go to war.
This is the picture painted by Bloomberg, who also emphasized that the number of critics remains limited and includes people who would hold high-level positions in government and state affairs. These characters believe the conflict was a catastrophic mistake that will show the hands of the Russia many years ago.
One of the most troubling aspects that emerged from the reconstruction offered by the US media is that those interviewed – who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal – believe that there is very little chance that Putin will change course, and even none with regard to a possible internal retaliation.
According to his version, Putin is increasingly dependent on a narrow circle of intransigent advisers and would have rejected attempts by other authorities to focus attention on the economic and political cost of conflict.
Economic costs and political isolation
The two biggest concerns of the Russian elite can be summed up in the elevations economic costs on the basis of the continuation of the war in Ukraine (not to mention the Russian economic setback resulting from the effect of the sanctions) and theinternational isolation.
Of course, talking about Russian isolation tout court may seem excessive, since, except U.Sa lot ofEurope and some allied states (such as Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea), the rest of the world continues to interact in some way with Moscow (we are thinking of China, India, African countries, Southeast Asia and all of Latin America) . And yet, the specific weight of Washington and the Old Continent will be felt, if not in the immediate long term.
The same goes for the sanctions and the economic costs of conflict. If for now Moscow has given the impression of softening the blow – or at least reducing the weight – of sanctions, the future remains to be deciphered and revolves mainly around the decision of the China whether or not to assist the Kremlin, becoming its privileged economic partner.
the risk of climbing
Alongside the economic and political side, we must not lose sight of what is happening on the battlefield. It seems – there is no certainty, given that the crossfire of Russian and Ukrainian propaganda often obscures the reality of the facts – that the Kremlin forces have suffered huge losses and that the advance towards the Donbass proceed more slowly than expected. Limiting the Russian attack this time would not be the alleged gross logistical and strategic errors that characterized the first phase of the war, but the Western weapons that flowed en masse into the hands of the Ukrainian military.
Some senior Kremlin officials said they increasingly shared the fear expressed by US intelligence. What? That Putin can resort to the limited use of nuclear weapons if it accepts the failure of a military campaign that it considers its historic mission.
Let me be clear: support for the war and for Putin remains deep in much of therussian elite, with many insiders embracing – both in public and in private – the Kremlin’s narrative that conflict with the West is inevitable and that the Russian economy will adapt to the sweeping sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies. However, as explained, more and more prominent insiders have come to believe that Putin’s commitment to continuing the conflict will condemn Russia to years of isolation and heightened tensions that will leave its economy crippled, its security compromised, and its global influence destroyed.
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