Reviving Soviet Union

On the Ukrainian front, Russian President Vladimir Putin is diplomatically trapping the United States and Europe to grapple against each other to decide on a reactive stance. Doing this, Putin is playing a much more sophisticated and intricate game - more than what meets the eye.

By Syed Zain Abbas Rizvi | March 2022

“George, you have to understand that Ukraine is not even a country. Part of its territory is in Eastern Europe [and] the greater part was given to us.” These words are straight out of the mouth of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin - addressing former US President George W. Bush at the 20th NATO Summit. He mentality regarding Ukraine is quite patent: part of the Russian motherland that got unfairly dismembered by the NATO alliance in the 90s.

As a self-proclaimed savior of the Soviet legacy, he hardly regards the former Soviet members as independent countries. Hence, the fears of Ukraine are grounded in Russian capabilities and the vulnerabilities of the West – highlighted throughout history.

Putin has often regarded the breakup of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. And over the past decade, he has managed to ground the domestic opposition, disregard international scrutiny, and squeeze general liberties in the name of defending the pseudo-Russian legitimacy. His aspirations range from pushing the US out of Europe to denying NATO membership to ex-Soviet nations to spreading his scope of influence across borders. The current military built-up has one definitive agenda: negotiate a new Cold War order or prepare for a Post-Cold War confrontation.

While there are some legitimate security concerns, Russia has apparently denied any intent of an invasion. However, political experts believe that a possible Russian incursion could follow after the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Thus, the timeline roughly suggests that a conflict could ensue by late February. About a third of the Russian army is currently lining the Ukrainian borders, while Ukrainian forces are preparing to tackle any aggression to the best of their abilities. Despite that, Ukrainian forces are majorly insufficient to deter any Russian invasion.

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