The war in Ukraine has entered Week 4, with Russia encircling the port city of Mariupol. At the same time, the Ukrainian force continues to hold out on the Eastern frontline and Northern Kyiv, the capital. Indeed, the Russian army has made several gains since the beginning of the conflict. Yet, the situation began to deteriorate in all aspects for Russia. The unanticipated scale of sanctions from the West strikes and cripples the Russian economy. The article will examine why it is in the Russian state's interest to end the war.
Economic sanctions and civil unrest
The West has imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia. Russia has surpassed Iran and become the country with the most sanctions, having 5,581. The US imposed a total ban on Russian oil and gas, while the EU began to phase out Russian energy supply, such as Germany has suspended Nord Stream 2, an energy pipeline linking to Russia. In addition, with assets of the Russian central bank frozen by foreign banks, Russia has lost its international trading capacity. Hyperinflation and the withdrawal of foreign goods and services have triggered a depression in its economy.
Early days of war sparked anti-war protests across the nations, forcing the government to enforce draconian measures on the media. If casualties continue to rise and the economy enters a total collapse, uprisings and internal opposition will pose a serious challenge to Russia's stability.
Becoming a Chinese client state
It is common knowledge that China has become a dominating superpower. Though for Russia, it has lost its global hegemony after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Still, Russia retained influence over Eastern Europe and Central Asia under its regional security organization, the CSTO. However, with the war weakening Russia's military and economy, the federation might turn to China for aid. Russia has already requested supplies from China to support its war effort. If the West continues or even increases the scale of sanctions, Russia will need to rely on China for exports and trade, directly handing the state to Beijing.
The worst scenario for the Russian state is to be subject to Chinese influence. As a traditional European power and superpower, relying on China for economic growth and supplies undoubtedly humiliates Russia. A reversal of the cold war relations, from Mao following Stalin to Putin following Xi, will ultimately debunk Putin's dream of a revival of the Soviet Union.
The future fate of Russia
It is important to remember that the interest of Russia does not mean the interest of Putin. The best strategy for the Russian state and people is to oust Putin from power while influential figures secure political control and cease the war. The prospect of a stalemate or even the occupation of Ukraine is deemed unthinkable as the Russian military and economy cannot sustain it. The Russian Federation needs to understand the threat of becoming a Chinese client state, and to prevent that, the end of war is necessary to repair relations and its economy.
(Photo: An Anti-War Protest In St. Petersburg, Russia. Anton Vaganov / Reuters)
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