Well, things are looking pretty grim for Mr. Putin and his crowd these days. What to make of this?
Some argue that his popularity may suddenly plummet, opening up the door for possible change. Others argue that allowing a disaster in Russia is not worth the risk. Kevin Drum, writing for Mother Jones, is one of them.
he writes this
I have precious little sympathy for Putin, whose success—such as it is—is based on a toxic stew of insecurities and quixotic appetites that have expressed themselves in a destructive brand of crude nativism; reactionary bigotry; disdain for the rule of law, both domestic and international; narrow and myopic economic vision; and dependence on an outdated and illiberal oligarchy to retain power. Nonetheless, there are kernels of legitimate grievance buried in many of these impulses, as well as kernels of necessity given both Russia’s culture and the post-Cold War collapse of its economy that has left it perilously dependent on extractive industries.
Kernels of legitimate grievance? Just what does that mean? More obscure is the phrase “kernels of necessity”. Let’ not get confused about what is going on. The Ukraine adventure was not something based on a legitimate grievance. Nor was it necessary for Russia. It was chosen by Mr. Putin as a tactical move. It was an incursion of choice. He can end it whenever he wants to do so. He can negotiate his way out of it. But if the west flinches now, he will win. And if he wins here, he will know that he can flout the foundations of western security again.