After Russia’s withdrawal in Ukraine, what can Putin do next?

A general mobilization would enable the military to draw on Russia’s 2 million reservists, to expand the draft and put the Kremlin in a position to pressurize its manufacturing base on a war footing. This would require heavy training and redeploy materials and economy, however, meaning it could take until at least the spring to have an impact on the battlefield.

It could also cause a backlash in major Russian cities, where life has in many ways continued as usual and where residents have not yet suffered the same number of casualties as in their rural provinces.

“If you start taking young men from Moscow and St. Petersburg, who are politically more powerful than the provinces, and they end up dying in Ukraine while Russia is losing, that’s a very political one for Putin. It is an extremely risky situation,” he said. Christine Berzina, Senior Security and Defense Policy Fellow at the German Marshall Fund.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this week that the Kremlin was not considering full mobilization, but that debate is welcome – to a point.

“As long as they stay within the bounds of the law, critical approaches can be considered pluralism,” he said. “But the line is very thin. One must be careful here.”

Sue for the Peace?

Other voices in Russia have pressed for an end to the invasion and the withdrawal of forces.

Politician Boris Nadezhdin’s remarks on Russian television that the Kremlin had no chance of winning should emphasize peace talks that went online this week.

“We are now at the point when we have to understand that defeating Ukraine is absolutely impossible,” Nadezhdin said on state-controlled NTV on Sunday, where he called the Kremlin “the methods of colonial warfare” and the use of contract troops and mercenaries. for more slogans. without mobilization.

Nadezhdin told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he does not fear arrest nor does he believe he has violated Russian law that prohibits disparaging the military or spreading “misinformation” about the conflict.

“There was not a single fake in what I said, not a single fake,” he told the news agency “absolutely a statement of clear facts.”

Right Cause Party official Boris Nadezhdin attends a party meeting on June 25, 2011 in Moscow.
Nadezhdin is a former liberal member of the Russian parliament.Sergei Ponomarev / ap file

Moscow and Kyiv negotiated early in the war but failed to make concrete progress toward any peace agreement. Given Putin’s regional ambitions and Ukraine’s growing confidence in its ability to reclaim lost land, any deal may require concessions and neither side is willing to give a befitting reply.

The potential pitfalls of mounting criticism for Putin are clear, with both increasing the pressure to push the military campaign and ending it. Putin also accepted on Thursday after meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping that near Xi”questions and concerns“About the war.

Kimmage said calls for his resignation, such as those made in a petition this week to a 50 municipal representative, could signal more threats to Putin’s ability to hold on to power, and he could mean That some people in Russian politics are starting to hedge their bets and see. cracks in his strong veneer.

“This is going to be the most interesting dynamic to see in Russian politics over the next few months,” he said. “They’re doing it at some political risk, but if the Russian military really does lose, I don’t think Putin can avoid that defeat.”

Nuclear option?

With the war on Ukraine’s side perhaps further weakening his own position, some analysts have warned that a corner may be turning to Putin. Russia’s nuclear arsenal,

Fears of a nuclear confrontation between Russia and NATO have dwindled since the start of the war, but analysts say a small-scale strategic strike against Ukraine could remain a possibility – especially if Putin’s prospects turn sour. Lives.

Such a move is likely to provide limited military advantage in the face of a geopolitical setback, in which the situation may be beyond the control of the Kremlin.

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