When Westerners talk about the conflict in Ukraine becoming a “forever war,” they tend to mean it as a bad thing. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, though, it likely is a goal.
When Putin talks of the operation in Ukraine as one of the “decisive battles for the fate of our Motherland,” as he did at this year’s Victory Day parade, he seems to be speaking from the heart — and to the new creed of his regime. He was offering no clear vision of the future, nor even any real hope, just the message that the nation was locked in an existential struggle with a hostile West with no real end in sight.
This sounds like a grim prospect, but from Putin’s perspective, it also has its clear virtues. Of course, the war is a catastrophe for Russia. US government sources suggest Russia may have suffered 120,000 killed and 170,000-180,000 wounded troops.
The economic scarring will take years to heal even when peace has been agreed and sanctions are lifted.
But it is an opportunity, too. As the forever war becomes the organizing principle of “late Putinism,” it excuses — even demands — the tightening grip of repression Putin needs to maintain his control of the nation. Even the mildest dissent becomes treason, and the massive shift in resources to the defense sector becomes a necessity.
Read more here: Opinion - Why Putin wants a "forever war"