Embittered Putin promotes his vision of a Eurasian Russia
Shunned by the West, the Russian President is looking for allies elsewhere
Just before Christmas, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the Defense Ministry Board, an event he described as “taking place at a very important time in the country’s life” as “the special military operation continues.” His presentation centred on Russia’s hardening demarcation from the West.
Putin, speaking to his country’s military elite and more broadly to its citizenry, described how Russia once “wanted to be part of the so-called civilised [Western] world”, and “after the collapse of the USSR, which we allowed to happen, we somehow thought that we would finally become part of that so-called civilised world.”
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However, he says this project failed “despite all our efforts and attempts, including my own, as I also worked on this.” Putin purports that Russia now faces an existential threat from the West and their Ukrainian allies, asserting that “the goal of our strategic adversaries is to weaken and break up our country” because “they believe our country is too big and poses a threat”.
The Ukraine invasion and the West’s support for Kyiv saw a marked shift in Putin’s rhetoric. As Russian forces were rolling on Ukraine, he scorned the NATO “military machine” and deemed the United States the “empire of lies” in his television address to the nation. He attacked the West for stoking chaos wherever they intervened, citing Serbia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria (without mentioning Russia’s own questionable military interventions). Decisive action in Ukraine was therefore necessary, he argued, to prevent Russia from becoming NATO’s next victim.
Yet, Russia’s invasion has quite clearly not gone as planned, with blunder, miscalculation, and an underestimation of Ukrainian resistance characterising the campaign. And now, over ten months into the “special military operation” — which was originally intended to achieve swift results — it has become a bloody war of attrition.
As Moscow more frequently refers to the US and NATO countries as the “other” and the “collective West”, Putin is reorienting the country’s image as a Eurasian power, forming closer ties with nations such as Belarus, Iran, and China. That is likely why the Russian President accused the West of denying “the sovereignty of countries and peoples, their identity and uniqueness, and tramples upon other states’ interests” at Valdai International Discussion Club in October. He then railed against Western-centrism, explaining that the “majority of the population is concentrated in the east of Eurasia”:
Ukraine has become the site of a highly destructive war. Russia looks to violently coerce Ukraine into its sphere of influence or else batter the country into a weakened dysfunctional rump state. And while it is difficult to predict how any of this will ultimately play out, the seeming trajectory of Russia’s future is moving away from the West and towards Eurasia. Putin made this clear at an October conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, where he described “major changes taking place in global politics and economics” with the world becoming “truly multipolar, with Asia playing a prominent, if not key, role as new centres of power emerge.”
Putin left himself little alternative to build new alliances after his decision to invade Ukraine. But whether he can spread Moscow’s political influence and bolster economic relations with more neutral and receptive nations in the East and Global South is another question entirely. So far, most countries have preferred to maintain a safe distance from either side; until a result from the conflict becomes clearer, it is likely that won’t change.
Reports, not published on mainstream media, suggest Putin is being treated for cancer which is inexorably moving towards the end stage. With this in mind, his attempt to realign the image of Russia away from its traditional inclinations towards the West might be seen in context.
His legacy is far from assured, and those nations he seeks to realign with – China & Iran in particular – have enough domestic problems of their own to pay Putin more than lip service.
NATO has never been an existential threat to Russia. It was established as a bulwark against the Soviet Union. The entity that is Russia would be welcomed with open arms (not military ones!) should it ever succeed in being led by someone without paranoia or a drunk (Yeltsin). The tragedy is, the opportunity presented in the early 90s was squandered.
I think he’s assured his legacy now … if any country is foolish, deluded or desperate enough to join the losers club that is team Putin now, they deserve everything that’s coming to them.
Can we please have a break from people talking about this multipolar world fantasy in 2023 ? If the last year has shown us anything, it’s that the USA is much stronger and more resilient than the critics wished and that China is far more fragile.
You’re absolutely correct. I should have said “his preferred legacy”.
And that Europe is much weaker.
It’s cheap resources, nothing more – India and China will benefit without cost
There is a great documentary series on the post-USSR situation for Russia that came out a couple of months ago on BBC Iplayer, showing how desperate these times were for Russians.
After seeing this I think we could have helped them more.
Ian is entirely right. This superb series encapsulates the disaster of Post-Soviet Russia, sowing the seeds of the chronic insecurity which afflicts the country today. Therein lies a toxic mix of violence, incompetence, mendacity, grinding poverty and rapacious corruption. I am not sure we could have helped Russia more merely because so many attempts, the wholesale theft of IMF loans for example, were rejected. The post-empire mentality, something of which we know a little in the UK, is very difficult to shake off. Now we see it’s nemesis.
If we’d known it would result in Putin, like Weimar resulted in Hitler, would we have tried to help them more? Or was it impossible to help them.
The opportunity in the 90s was squandered. It was squandered because the US and Europe preferred to help plunder Russia of its natural assets rather than build a human rights respecting democracy.
Last I checked, instead of being ‘plundered’ Russia was doing a fine job of selling its natural assets; and how, pray tell, does a country ‘build a human rights respecting democracy’ in another country? The only cases that come to mind are post-WWII Germany and Japan, but those had no choice, having been decisively defeated in war. You comment is no more than standard leftist nonsense.
Factually, Russia’s “natural assets” were worth much less in the 80s and 90s than in the 2000s.
Hence the nations’ poverty in that period.
Facts, naturally, don’t matter when one is discussing the Great Russian State.
But they do exist, all the same.
The Yeltsin government’s decision to allow state-owned enterprises to be privatized into the hands of insiders who would emerge as the oligarchs was what doomed Russia to become what it is. From that concentration of economic and political power came the authoritarian kleptocracy that produced Putin and of which he has become the absolute master. I can’t help but wonder how much different things might have been had Yeltsin used transparent, competitive initial public offerings, maybe with something like the German stakeholder capitalism model baked in to keep rich foreigners from raping the place. Did we have the capacity or the inclination to try to influence him to move in that direction? Was there ever a substantial Russian constituency for such a policy?
It was the fall in oil prices that determined Russia’s fate in the 90s. It would have been entirely different if prices had been at $100 bbl or above, as in Putin’s early years.
It’s easy to blame those who oversaw Russia’s near collapse. But much of it was the legacy of the Soviet Union. Most enterprises couldn’t both follow the rules and produce the goods they needed. Even a personally honest manager had to break the law to get things done. And once the collapse started, Russia simply lacked Rule of Law.
The real tragedy was that, once things began to get better after 2000, no attempt was made to create an economy anything like in the West or in non-PRC Asia. Putin knw he couldn’t control more than about a hundred oligarchs personally beholden to him. A true market economy would have produced thousands of people who wanted to have some say in governing the country.
In the end it came down to a modern economy based on some form of democracy…or Putin.
Putin chose Putin.
I briefly watched Euronews this morning. One of those top euro bureaucrats — not Ursula, but that top lady with horse-like face and Italian accent — she said something like “all Europe problems because of one particular man [Putin]”. I am absolutely astonished by the level of this incompetence. It’s not just one man, not at all. Those who hope that Mr Putin soon is going to die of something (we hear it for the last decade or more) need to be careful about their wishes. Any next guy will be much harder to deal with. I can see a few potential successors (like Mr Medvedev) and they seem to be less forgiving all the humiliation, theft and ignorance Russia saw from the West in this century.
“Never steal from Russians, they always come for their money” — the West is about to learn it a very hard way. Russia is steadily uncoupling from the West economically, the sanctions fizzled (2% drop of GDP is a very limited success for the price paid). Dollar is steadily being replaced with yuan/rupee/ruble. Food, energy, materials, weapons independence and nuclear arsenal on top. It’s a strong hand, the EU should have listened to a year ago’s proposal and drop NATO expansion project.
‘The first casualty of war is truth’ Let us never forget this as we assign blame.
I blame the nation which unwisely invaded Ukraine for invading Ukraine. It is important not to be so open minded that one’s brain falls out.
As did yours, so obviously.
Are you serious? It sounds more like an echo chamber inside an empty head.
Russia seemed pretty extensively baited given the facts. The metaphor I see is Ukraine’s leaders threw beer in the local psychopath’s face (Russian executive) with private Western interests egging Ukraine on (pursuing cheap resources) and surprise surprise the western taxpayers is writing the cheque in money and the Ukrainian and Russian people are paying the price in blood.
I agree! There was a time when we had respected UK journalists reporting from Ukraine but they have now left after one witnessed the retaliation by Ukrainian forces in an areas which had been recently occupied and another saw them murder Russian prisoners-of-war..
Now we only hear what the Zelensky-run Ukrainian government reports to WoirldService without any verification from satellite photos or reliable, independent voices.
We will have to pick up the tab for rebuilding Ukraine. It is time the USA stopped providing arms to increase the destruction..
and any alternative independent voices are often deemed Putin Lovers or Russian Bots. This proxy war was well engineered by the CIA and the Military and Media to present a heroic story, one of good and bad, Putin vs Zelenskyy. Simplifying it like a sporting event for the masses.
If had more up votes I would give them to you both.
The “CIA did it” canard once again rears its ugly head. Let’s move on…
Russia will pick up the tab for Ukraine. We already have a third of trillion $ in frozen funds.
In Irag, Afghanistan, and Libya, the West have been agents of chaos; not true in Syria, though. Russia is not threatened militarily by Nato, but the West is an economic threat to the Russian Kleptocracy. Whilst Putin and the Kleptocrats run things, Russia will be on a downward trajectory.
There’s much more to this than this rather shallow and prematurely triumphalist piece allows. Read “Putin’s People” by Catherine Belton as a primer for what makes Putin tick.
An absolute must read book here.
For further balance, I recommend ‘Overreach’, by Owen Matthews?
Thank you – I’ll give that a look.
Anybody who calls China, Iran and North Korea his best allies is truly scraping the bottom of the barrel.
“Where’s the beef?”
Exactly. What is the point of this article? It reads like a dumbed-down version of BBC propaganda.
Thankyou, I was waiting for your comment
Thanks for giving your well-researched, incisive alternative to the article.
I assume that the China Government is wondering whether the break-up of the current Russian state would benefit China. All that mineral wealth in Siberia would fall under Chinese ‘influence’. Perhaps the US Government should also ask whether destroying Russia is really in its interest.
It’s interesting that Putin publicly characterized the end of the Soviet Union as something they “allowed to happen.” It sounds like profound regret, almost like “Old Uncle Joe was tough, but strong and it’s too bad he’s gone.” Kind of concerning.
Putin’s war will undoubtedly make Russia more Eurasian, or, more properly, Central Asian.
This war will result in 1-2 million Russian casualties, which in turn will have a horrendous affect on the nation’s birth rate for decades to come. Moreover, given Russia’s transition to a war economy, there will inevitably be a decade or more of recession similar to the 90s. That again will result in far fewer Russians.
The very good news is that Russia will then need a huge influx of Central Asian labour to keep whatever industry that remains from collapsing. Within a few decades Russia’s demographics will see some very nice people forming the majority in St P and Moscow. Russian may not even be the most spoken language there.
So it’s the end of all the “Russian World” nonsense.
Places like Kazakstan and Uzbekistan are the wave of the future, not Muscovy. They are creating multi-ethnic societies that could eventually grow into real democracies, or at worst, non-threatening dictatorships.
We actually ought to applaud Putin.
His war is making the world a better place.
Multi-ethnic societies are divided societies, not thriving democracies
“Putin purports that Russia now faces an existential threat from the West and their Ukrainian allies, asserting that “the goal of our strategic adversaries is to weaken and break up our country” .
This is self-serving, delusional tosh.
The West doesn’t covet Russian territory, which is more than can probably be said of China.
The West’s shunning of Russia is more like Russian self marginalisation. The savagery of Russia’s armed forces is a constant, precisely because Russia isn’t in truth European, even just Russia west of the Urals. Let us therefore leave Russia to its Eurasian future, a mere hydrocarbon and mineral rich adjunct to China.
I don’t get it – Mr. Webber is admitting that for over thirty years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has done everything it could to be friends with the West, only to be continuously rebuffed, goaded and provoked. Now the West finally has the war with Russia it so desperately wanted, and like all Neocon projects, it is falling apart in their hands. Russia has been running out of ammunition since March while Ukraine’s industrial infrastructure is being destroyed, Russia’s runaway casualty figures mean it now has forces three times the initial number in the field, Russia’s continuous retreats have resulted in the occupation of 20% of Ukraine, Europe’s gleeful deindustrialisation and self-impoverishment has found eager new customers in the East and South for Russia’s cheap and reliable energy and raw materials.
Hands down the Neocons’ finest accomplishment yet.
Uh, you seem to have overlooked the offensives in Kharkiv and Kherson some months ago. Only 10% of Ukraine is now occupied.
And the fact that Putin claims the West is at fault really isn’t proof that it is.
But then, who could doubt the word of anyone from the KGB?
The system created by the bankers and energy companies is old and outdated and they know it. They are doing everything they can to maintain control. Times are a-changin’.
Russia will shortly be annexed [well all of it to the East of Moscow] by China. Pingpong has been giving Putin enough rope to hang himself and Taiwan is a mere [temporary?] distraction.
I’m no fan of Putin but his analysis of Western intentions is spot on
I upvoted you, just so you know, but because of the absurd comments voter programming that allows a gang that disagrees with you do annul all your upvotes, your vote count is re-set to zero. When it comes to Ukraine, there is no freedom of expression. A gang sees to that.
It would be helpful to get an update on China’s Belt and Road initiative. Is it still going full steam ahead? It is hard to believe Putin’s rhetoric if all his allies are economic disasters. Or is that just Western propaganda?
As with Paul, I upvoted you but some troll had downvoted you and so the count on your comment is zeroed out. A bunch of subscribers needs to pressure this otherwise superb journal to disallow specific organized groups to silence dissent in the comments section.
Sad to see the comments section in UnHerd hijacked. “Putin purports that Russia now faces an existential threat from the West and their Ukrainian allies” … Something of which most are unaware, Lucas, is that the US political class, for which I worked on the immediate pre- and post-Soviet Russia, saw Russia’s integration with Europe as the worst possible outcome of the Cold War. Essentially, it would turn winning the Cold War into losing the Cold War. And while it doesn’t take too much imagination to see why this would be the case, it does take some. So just as Britain resisted Russian influence in the past, America did so after 1991 using active contingency plans already partly formulated by 1989. While whittling down Russia’s influence in areas like southern Europe via war. So it’s not all as you might think, for which reason the Ukrainians should blame the US as well as Russia.
The Biden Sanctions basically drove Russia into the arms of China. Stopping SWIFT told the whole world that USA as ‘Reserve Currency’ means they can be financially crippled anytime Washington wishes by shutting their means to conduct movements of money internationally. Freezing bank accounts show that it is best to not bank in USA…
So what happened is places like Iran and Venezuela, and most of the resource producing world, saw how the $ as reserve could cripple them if Washington wishes…. So the BRICS, and the resource producing nations, are out to make a Reserve and international trading currency Washington may not control.
The USA survives way above its productivity by the fact of the $ being the Reserve currency. As $ are needed for commerce, to pay $ denominated Debt, and to hold as bank reserves by Central Banks – USA exports $, just digital $ it creates out of air, in exchange for goods and materials, with the world because of the Reserve status – which means the world needs an ever growing supply of USD $.
This is what Biden is bringing down. Biden shot USA in the foot, and knee, and hip, with his need for a war – one not in any vital interests – no one knows why he did this. Military Industrial Complex? Hunter’s skeletons? New World Order/Great Reset? Hatred of America? Distraction from his disastrous covid/lockdown/PPP trillion $ giveaway, and killer vaccine? Senility Corn Pop delusions? Lobbyists? Neo-Con need to War?
Anyway, he has (with Boris, his mini-me) divided the world into Axis and Allies with his WWIII created from a regional conflict. USA may not recover from Biden. The world may not. Worse then Bush/Blair and their $7,000,0000,000,000 7 $Trillion war in Iraq and Afghanistan which did no good – but no real harm, they were side shows. This one they caused to become global will cause Harm. It has divided the world into hostile camps, disrupted energy flows, and will starve millions in the third world and may being a global depression, and may change the world political alignment for the worse.
I think that it was rather more Putin’s need for a war than Biden’s! Europe also fairly keen to halt the Russian imperial war machine. I do like ‘the Russian President accused the West of denying “the sovereignty of countries and peoples, their identity and uniqueness, and tramples upon other states’ interests”’ from the man invading another sovereign country and seemingly intent on its destruction and murder of its population!
Iran and Venezuela already knew exactly where they stood decades before Putin invaded Ukraine. That made no difference to them.
There’s nothing new here. We’ve known in the UK since 1956 (Suez) that you can’t go against the financial might of the US (who were arguably doing us a favour stopping the Suez invasion). The USA is and will remain the dominant world power. Deal with it.
I’ve never understood this argument that the US is somehow “cheating” because the US$ is the world reserve currency. That has costs as well as benefits – there’s no free lunch. It couldn’t possibly be that the US is richer because it often more productive and more innovative and has a lower cost base than places like Europe, could it ?
‘We’ have been a Client State to the US since at least late 1916. This was quickly hammered home by the Washington Disarmament Conference of 1921-2, and the subsequent severing of the 1904 Anglo-Japanese Naval Treaty. Further humiliation was achieved by Lend-Lease and the Neutrality Act of 1940.
Only Eden’s astonishing conceit could ignore this and also explain his barefaced lying to the House of Commons. Suez only confirmed the position of the previous forty years.
Eden’s reward, exile, gaol, banishment? No Sir! An Earldom for the loathsome toad!
Eden proceeded on MacMillan’s assurance that Eisenhower would not oppose the Suez action. MacMillan was wrong.
France was more circumspect and had arranged loans with which to support its currency should the USA be hostile; the UK had not.
Unfortunately Eden was also unwell due to a botched bile duct operation and had gone from a realistic stance of negotiation to one of military action.
Eden wasn’t a loathsome toad; but Macmillan…?
I must disagree. It was Eden’s own flawed character that guided his actions.
Eden ended up lying to the country, lying to the House of Commons and, indeed, lying to himself in his attempt to justify his actions. It was a sad end to what had been a glittering career!
I know that lying to the HoC is fairly commonplace these days but in 1956 it was heinous!
Not unlike Tony Blair and Iraq perhaps.
Yes but Iran now has access to Russian technology, their drones will continue to improve, the Russians may sell them a S400 missile system
The Ukrainian war was a very bad idea for Europe and the US, you just can’t see it yet
Putin is the loser from the Ukraine war. Europe and the US can take the short term hit.
Fantasy to suppose that Iran and Russia are anything more than short term allies of convenience – they have very little in common. Same for Russia and China. Russia has the best friends money can buy – none.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the US don’t already know how to counter all Russian anti-air defences – including the S400. Not something they’re ever going to publically announce though. No sane person can any longer be in any doubt about the superiority of US and NATO equipment vs Russian. Or logistics. Or intelligence. Or leadership.
I hate to be the one to tell you Peter, but most of the World has stayed neutral or backed Russia. the US + Europe is not the World
And the Russians seem to be dealing with the wonderwaffe from the US, I’m hearing less and less about the Himars these days, why is that ?
Even China has given up on Putin – Xi is demanding to know when they are going to end their special military operation.
More self-deception. Who is actually backing Russia ? No one that actually matters or will move the needle. India and China are sitting back and getting cheap oil. Why wouldn’t they ?
Of course countries in places like Latin America aren’t getting involved. So what ? Tbey simply don’t need to.
Maybe your hearing aid battery is flat???
Not a bad idea for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and company. 50 billion in weaponry so far. Lots of happy shareholders too.
Some valid points on this I feel Mr Moze, I am as confused why we seem to be sleep walking into some of these disasters as you are, I frequently blame Americans but I try and remember russia and China are also party to this. And the arms dealers etcetc. It is a difficult one. I think the whole debacle over Ukraine could have been sorted without missiles and perhaps a bit more give from America. Good point regarding the petro dollar, its days as reserve currency are perhaps numbered now. The warning from the BIS earlier this month was a stark one. Regarding swift also agree, America runs the risk of sanctioning itself into irrelevance. I think its a fine line between brave and stupid poking China and Russia at once. There’s a fair few commenters underestimating the east. Everything is made in China. Russia has energy. Combined they are dangerous to say the least. I agree the US has done a good job of pushing them together. I wish they would all calm the f*** down.
It makes total sense that by continually using monetary and trade sanctions as a weapon, the U.S. has created a strong determination to develop an alternative system, and so the eventual weakening of American superiority is inevitable. Ironically, having got in this deep, the only solution now is to completely crush Russia and make it an example to its collaborators. It is to Bidens credit that he has so far kept all the heavy lifting for the Ukrainians. I think a Bush/ Cheney reaction might have been more reckless and more costly. A Trump response would of course have let Russia win.
Perhaps Putin would have never invaded with a Trump in the WH. Trump is highly critical of NATO and its offensive mission statement. Many leftists and MAGA types both wan5 less Foreign intervention.
I suspect Putin was only waiting until Trump totally alienated the EU. The whole point of his plan was that the EU would cave immediately, leaving the US unable to adequately supply whatever was left of Ukraine.
Very fair points I think, I would have to retort though 🙂 That relies on the fact it is actually possible to crush russia. If China is helping russia too, that is even more unlikely. It may have been a better solution to recognise that the east has found its feet and found a way to deal with them that didn’t rely on anyone ‘crushing’ anyone else. Or anyone having to ‘win’. The only thing getting crushed right now is ukraine, and Europe has a fairly serious energy problem. We are potentially just a few stray missiles away from a full on NATO confrontation in Europe. This is escalating all the time, putins just moved more troops, Belarus has sent a load to its border too, this needs stopping before it gets way out of hand. I actually thought elon musks proposal was a wise one, he got slated for it but that right now, to me, is a sensible, pragmatic solution.
They both need poking. Rather better that we do it now while they have just started to re-arm than wait until they’ve finished
Lol! Well I hope our pokey stick is actually bigger than theirs. They will certainly poke back.
The Democratic Party has morphed into the war party of provocation, intervention and proxy war profiteering. Meanwhile the same blue and yellow flag waving neoliberals bash the GOP for supporting armament at home. Such hypocrisy.
Despite the pathetic pile-on of down votes from partisans who infest every UnHerd piece on this war, to ensure dissent is unherd, you are correct. Though it’s all been in motion since before 1991. The sad thing for Europe is that a strong Russian and Chinese alliance and economic integration would have been 100% in its interests. Just not in US interests.
Europe is the real loser of this war which it slept walked into under American guidance and until Europeans find the collective will to remove the American heel from their necks they will continue to suffer.
All of Russia’s moves in Ukraine have been defensive and as limited as possible. Russia is terrified and on the defensive and has been since 2008 when the US began unilateral NATO expansion in earnest. In Ukraine we have become willing collaborators in a genocide of the Russian people, much as we collaborated with the Croats, Bosnians and Albanians to cleanse Serbians from greater Yugoslavia in the 90s.
We have literally become what our values and our institutions claim to be against: a violent imperial tyranny.
Making peace now and allowing the 4 Russian provinces of the Ukraine tie join the Russian Federation is the only just move to make. Everything else is a rationalization for warmongering, profiteering, mass suffering and death. We have hypnotized ourselves into a Manichaean fantasy of good vs evil like a Star Wars movie, it’s as pathletic as it is dangerous.
Don’t you think that the wishes of the inhabitants matter? As I understand it, the last time they were asked, in 1992, even the ‘Russian’ provinces voted to stay Ukrainian; I imagine now that even with hundreds of thousands murdered, abducted or displaced by Russia they wouldn’t be terribly keen. And the reason NATO got interested in 2008 was because Russia invaded Georgia – and even more interested in 2014 because Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia’s moves defensive? You’re ‘avin’ a larf mate!!
and how does one truly know their wishes ? In one of the most corrupted regimes in the world. Do we trust their elections and referendums that were highly manipulated by the US influence ?
Sorry, Zelensky was the peace candidate for Russophones in the south and east. They voted for him overwhelmingly.
Nobody has ever given any credible evidence of a significant peace movement in Ukraine.
Yes, an excellent summary of the position.
The Neocon agenda promoted by the USA has proved disastrous, even for the American people
. In Ukraine we have become willing collaborators in a genocide of the Russian people,
assume you can explain that ?
He can’t. It’s beyond fanciful. I suspect that ‘Northern Observer’, may be something else…..perhaps more sinister? Get ready for a series of utterly erroneous articles, sourced from God knows where, on this ‘genocide’.
No explanation needed. Anybody who does not ignore American and especially the Biden family corrupt dealings in Ukraine since 2014 can see this.
The voices of the Donbas and Crimean Russians since 2014 that are not reported in mainstream corporate owned media..
So why did the Russian army have to intervene to keep Donbas in 2014?
Fact is, support for Russia was so slight in 2014 that the DPR and LPR insurgents would have been driven over the border by the still very weak Ukrainian army.
Until the Russian army stopped them at Ilovaisk.
Motorola and Girkin didn’t win.
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