Ukraine and the Putin Paradox

The invasion of Ukraine is supposed to be about enhancing Russia’s security. But what Putin has done will end up weakening the country in the long run.

Soldiers from the Russian National Guard preparing to patrol the area surrounding St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square, on Feb 24, 2022. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
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There has been a consistent message coming from Mr Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin concerning Russia's security. This discourse is based on the mantra that Russian interests and security are non-negotiable. There are many ways of reading this statement. Does Mr Putin mean military security, economic security, or Russia's ability to shape international negotiations to meet the interests of the Russian people? If it is the latter, then all this conflict does is isolate Russia from international negotiations.

On Feb 24, Mr Putin launched military operations in Ukraine. One thing that I have learnt over the years is that all human conflict can be explained by two processes - an overconcern with hierarchy and territory. These two processes explain school or workplace bullying and all wars. Thus, Mr Putin is concerned about Russia's shrinking status in the world as the balance of power shifts towards Asia. Conflicts over territory are a form of imperialism and this includes the use of military or economic force and cyber attacks, including those intended to influence political outcomes.

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