Europe’s Big Question: What’s Next for a Depressed Russia? | CNN



of Russia war in ukraine Almost all assumptions were proved wrong. By now, Europe is wondering what else is safe.

The February invasion shocked in every possible way. to those who think Moscow There are enough reasons not to attempt such a big and reckless act. For those who feel that the Russian army will roam the territory of 40 million people and switch to cleanup operations in 10 days, and for those who feel they have the technical and intelligence capabilities to do more than just random attacks. civilian area with old artillery that the Kremlin’s army evolved from the leveling of Grozny in Chechnya in the 90s

And finally, for those who feel the use of nuclear weapons is an emotion in 2022, you can’t accidentally threaten people with nuclear weapons. Because the destruction they brought was already finished for everyone on this planet.

Still, as 2022 comes to an end, Europe still has to deal with a series of unknowns that are unimaginable, such as as recently as January in a nutshell: the once most formidable army in the world has invaded. smaller neighbors Last year, most of them were good at IT and agriculture.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech before the Assembly of the European Parliament on March 1, 2022 in Brussels.  belgium

Obviously, Russia spends billions of dollars modernizing its military. But it turned out to be a scam on a large scale. It has discovered that its supply chain does not work tens of miles from its own border. Ukraine’s assessment of how desperate it is to be freed from its own “Nazism” is the result of nodding and feeding the president – Vladimir Putin – what he wants to hear in secession. from the epidemic

Russia meets Western nations that are far from divided and taciturn. Instead, he was happy to send some weapons to the eastern border. Western officials might also be surprised that Russia’s red line seems to be constantly changing. Because Moscow recognizes how limited its non-nuclear options are. This shouldn’t happen. So what is Europe doing and how to prepare now?

The key was unexpected unification of the West. despite being separated from Iraq broken up over syria And some are reluctant to spend 2% of GDP on security according to the US. long demanded by NATO members, but Europe and the United States also spoke about Ukraine in the same script. And there are totalitarian junta groups like Hungary. But the shift towards unity, not inequality. It was a big surprise.

Valentina Demura, a 70-year-old local resident, stood beside the building where her destroyed apartment was located in the southern port city of Mariupol.

The soldiers' bodies were covered with snow.  Next to several rocket launchers of the Russian army destroyed.  On the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday February 25, 2022.

The announcement that Russia had lost the war was also premature. There are many variables that can lead to a dead end or even reversed luck. NATO may lose patience or become nervous about arms shipments. and seeking economic benefits over long-term security Push for an unfavorable peace for Kiev. But at the moment it seems unlikely.

Russia is mining on the eastern side of Dnipro River southern ukraine And it has the advantage that the fronts of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine are closer to the border. But the challenge is enormous: Poorly trained and conscripted personnel comprise 77,000 front-line troops, and that’s according to Putin’s glazed estimate. It is struggling to buy munitions and is seeing internal open criticism of its winter supply chain.

Ukraine is in its native land. with morale still high and western weapons have arrived Since the fall of Moscow’s forces around the north-eastern city of Kharkiv in September, where their supply lines were cut off by the more intelligent Ukrainian forces. Such powers were all against Moscow.

Russia’s chances of losing are in the big picture: Russia doesn’t quickly win against an inferior opponent. A spokesperson on state TV spoke about the need for “Take off your gloves” after Kharkiv As if they weren’t going to reveal their already withered fists. The Russian army revealed it was almost a paper tiger. It had fought for decades to achieve a similar status to NATO. That could have been a wider detriment for the Kremlin: years of attempts to rebuild Moscow’s reputation as a clever and disproportionate enemy with conventional forces behind it were lost in the About six months of mismanagement.

A Russian soldier was seen aboard a tank in the Volnovakha district in Donetsk, which is under the control of pro-Russian separatists.  in Ukraine on March 26, 2022

question of The nuclear force remainsMostly because Putin likes to call it on a regular basis. But even so, the Russian threat has diminished. NATO forces will succeed if any form of nuclear equipment is deployed. Secondly, Russia’s fair weather allies. India and China It quickly assessed its defensive line and publicly blamed Moscow’s nuclear rhetoric. (Their personal messages could have been more serious.)

And finally, Moscow has a question that no one wants to answer: if the supply chain for diesel fuel for barrels 40 miles from the border doesn’t work, will it? How can they be sure the button will work? if Putin arrives Crazy to press it? There is no greater danger for nuclear power than exposing strategic missiles and countermeasures to failure.

Although Russia is clearly in decline. But Europe is not welcome in an era of greater security. Calls to increase defense spending are louder and heeded. Although it comes at a time when Russia, a European security issue that has been defining for decades, is revealing itself to be less of a threat.

Europe is realizing that it cannot rely on the United States – and its political conflicts – solely for stability.

oil refinery  TotalEnergies Leuna, owned by French energy company Total  Established April 12, 2022 near Spergau, Germany.

meanwhile Thousands of innocent Ukrainians deceased In Putin’s arrogant and delusional attempt to restore the tsarist empire more broadly Authoritarianism is exposed as a disastrous system used in electoral warfare.

But there are some positives that come from this flood. Europe knows it has to stop relying on Russian gas immediately. and generally long term hydrocarbons. Because the authoritarian economic dependence on fossil fuels cannot bring long-term stability.

So, how will the West deal with Russia suffering a massive humiliation in Ukraine and a slow economic decline due to the sanctions? Weak Russia is scary or weak? This is the unknown that the West has to contend with. But it’s not a scary question anymore.

For over 70 years Russia and the West have held the world in the hands of mutual destruction. It’s peace on fear. But the fear of Moscow should slowly subside. And that puts it at risk of miscalculation. It also raises a less bleak prospect: Russia – like other authoritarian regimes before it – could fade away and be undermined by its clumsy dependence on domestic fear.

Europe’s challenge now is to deal with Russia in a chaotic state of denial. While hoping that Russia will develop into a state of decline. One thing that can be reassuring is After underestimating Moscow’s potential for malice, The risk that Europe will exaggerate the potential of Moscow as a threat.

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