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Putin’s Two Lifelong Goals

By Steve Slavin. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Russian Vladimir Putin

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the keystone of President Vladimir Putin’s two lifelong objectives. They are to dismantle the ring of hostile NATO nations now blocking Russian expansion and to reassemble the Soviet Union.

Putin’s Plan

The linchpin of his plan is the dismemberment and repossession of Ukraine, which he has always considered an integral part of Russia. Even the possible loss of hundreds of thousands of Russian and Ukrainian lives would be a very small price to pay.


Article by NAME, EqualOcean, an investment research firm focusing on China.

Please consider the two most traumatic events in Russian history since the turn of the nineteenth century — Napolean’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and the German invasion in 1941. Had either succeeded, Russia herself might have been swept into the dustbin of history.

Even after the glorious victory over Hitler in World War II, the Soviet Union – which lost twenty million of its citizens—remained fearful of future attacks. To protect its Western flank, the USSR permanently occupied several Central and Eastern European nations – the largest of which were Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and East Germany.

Containment

Since the advent of the Cold War in the late 1940s, the United States had cast a wary eye at continued Soviet advances. To counter the further spread of communism, the United States adopted the military strategy of “containment,” which called for actively resisting any further expansion by the Soviet Union and its allies. Formulated by high-ranking career U.S. foreign service officer George F. Kennan, this policy led to our very costly involvements in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, but was credited with our not getting into much more deadly wars with the Soviet Union.

Those times were very different from the way things are today. Back then, not only was the Soviet Union completely intact, but its huge Red Army occupied all of Eastern and Central Europe, and could not easily be dislodged – not even by the Unite States. All we could hope to do was to curb the Soviets’ further territorial ambitions.

During recent weeks it has become very obvious that Russia has bitten off far more than it could chew in Ukraine. Russia has become — as the Chinese Communists termed the United States in the 1950s and 1960s — a “paper tiger.”

Given the recent military setbacks that Russian forces have suffered in Ukraine, clearly Putin and his generals are reappraising their immediate goals in that country. Has he finally given up his dream of dismantling the NATO alliance that is devoted to curbing Russian expansion, let alone the reconstitution of the Soviet Union? I wouldn’t bet on it.

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