Putin’s War in Ukraine: Alternative Russian Futures, Assumptions and Risk Calculus

Russia’s “besieged fortress” narrative generates grievances and resentments that enable President Putin to claim that Russia is “rising from its knees.” In this supposed existential construct, only Putin himself as a strong protector leader ensures regime continuity, stability, a sphere of influence and Russia’s strategic autonomy. If at some level Putin perceives Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a breakout from “encirclement,” all is not “going according to plan.”

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10 Briefs on Russia’s War in Ukraine

Russia’s war in Ukraine has undoubtedly been game-changing for Europe’s security, challenging the long-held beliefs and assumptions of many Western nations and prompting dramatic shifts in policy, for example, in Germany, Finland, and Sweden. The war’s conduct has also produced significant surprises, not least the unexpectedly poor performance of Russia’s supposedly reformed military.

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A War of the Final Soviet Generation: Russia’s Demography, Society, and Aggression Against Ukraine

What is the attitude of Russian society towards the war? If it supports the war, why? These questions started swirling immediately after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, at least several major opinion polls have been conducted to find answers. However, many experts doubt the validity of those surveys, since the atmosphere of total censorship, repression, and fear strongly affects the sincerity of respondents.

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With the Hybrid War, Russia and the West Both Played a Losing Hand

Eight years ago, Russo-Western relations took a pivotal turn for the worse when Russia resumed its gaze on Ukraine and set out on a quest to subordinate its independence to Russia’s. That quest, capitalising on the promotion of regional separatism and internal insurgency through information weapons, cyberattacks and proxy militias, found initial success with the bloodless annexation of Crimea. Implications for the place and nature of hybrid war in Russian strategy were misdrawn by Russia and the West alike.

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Scanpix / EPA

All Eyes on Odesa

On 24 February, Odesa woke up from the sounds of cruise missiles exploding in the sky. It was targeted, just as any other major Ukrainian city from east to west. Since then, Odesa sustained several deadly attacks, but despite missiles flying over the roofs daily, the city escaped the level of destruction others have witnessed.

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REUTERS / Scanpix

Language Matters

The collaborating school administrators in the occupied city of Mariupol banned students from speaking Ukrainian to each other, even outside the now Russian-language-only classrooms, under the threat of disciplinary action, Petro Andriushenko, an advisor to the city’s Ukrainian mayor, says.

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