If one is to speak without geopolitical complexities and nuances, the situation is extremely simple. This is a battle for the continent, for the international system, for one’s own taiga. They are desperately attacking us and are trying to take us down quickly. They use all means at their disposal, except for direct military intervention on Russia’s territory. They are destroying Russians outside their borders, are raising foreign legions in order to invade the country.
The West undertook to destroy us for the simple reason it is trying to avert its own destruction. The main factors are the destruction of the economy and of the political authorities of Russia. The main factor that might allow them to accomplish this is the decay within Russia, a split within the Russian government, the spreading of hatred among the people. That’s the reason for the constant provocations and the divide-and-conquer policies: inter-ethnic animosities, hatred toward the state, toward big capital (specifically the pro-Russian), toward the Orthodox Church, toward its own people and everything around it.
All of that is being done to get Russia to destroy itself from within. But that’s precisely what is not happening. Everything is breaking apart against the unity of the government which has the support of its people which feels as if it was in a besieged fortress together with its leader. Even capitalists like Usmanov, Vekselberg, and others, who chose the West, moved their assets from offshore accounts back to Russia. Even Shuvalov swore his loyalty to Putin in Davos.
To say nothing of ordinary mortals. No matter how much is said about « Putin the billionaire » and the government for sale, in spite of all the problems and the worsening financial situation, the solidarity with the national leader is not only not growing weaker, but is getting stronger. What is more, the people want him to act more firmly and not compromise with the West, no matter what the cost. This is what angers the West so. It is trying to promote division and chaos in Russia but it is not happening.
The only remaining possibility is to try to destroy the economy, to deprive Russia from access to dollars (which for the West itself is the equivalent of hara-kiri), or to convince Russians that Putin is their enemy and thus deprive him of his national support. Yes, the so-called patriotic maidan. There is an opportunity here, but a small one. And it is closely tied to the situation on the Donbass. It’s a primitive calculation: keep shouting that « Donbass was abandoned », « there are idiots in the Kremlin », « Surkov sold out », etc. Putin is kept out of the line of fire in the first round, and the whole emphasis is on the myth of a palace coup (i.e., Putin was betrayed, they are deceiving him).
But they are also pushing the « Putin abandoned the Donbass » line, and sooner or later someone will shout « we have no Czar! » and « down with the Czar! ». This, in a situation of conflict with the West, ought to help topple the « Putin regime. » Donbass is being used as leverage to increase dissatisfaction with the Kremlin: if you introduce Russian forces, you become an international pariah and Hitler (which is more or less how he has been labeled), if you don’t send in troops, you are a traitor. Moscow chose an intermediate approach of containing Western aggression (until the x-hour) and indirect military confrontation on Ukraine’s territory. Yes, this is not the best variant from the perspective of the Donbass inhabitants. Moreover, it is a forced strategy based on the current realities: Russia’s forces are insufficient for a rapid victory over the consolidated West which, even though it is a giant clay feet, is still the dominant force in the world.
As part of this post-Crimean strategy, Russia is taking steps which are far from obvious, but which nevertheless allow the aggression to be repelled. Yes, the position adopted by the eternal critics, who demand a cardinal resolution of the Ukrainian question arguing that it will have to be done « sooner or later », may seem just and attractive to a patriotically-minded people who suffer at the sight of the dead inhabitants of the Donbass. But the critics don’t want to understand that in their desire to strike the final blow here and now, they are helping the West by forcing the Kremlin to strike when the West still has sufficient power. But the time is working against Washington. Even though it is assembling foreign legions against Russia and is taking Russian lives every day, it is not accomplishing its own task of destroying Russia in the nearest few months. To remove it from the world map as a single political unit. Break it up as an organism.
If you want to take up the fight « sooner », you may not find yourself living in Russia « later. » If the majority of us understand it with our hearts and minds, then the final victory will be Russia’s. But if we stray from that path, even with good intentions, in the hopes of solving the problem here and now, we will lose. Everyone’s duty right now is to help the Donbass to the extent they can, and not give in to emotions, even if they are sincere or provocative. Be fully prepared for the moment when the word comes « it’s time. »