In Moscow's Shadows 58: Ukrainian thoughts, welcome to stagnation, and more 2022 predictions
With Schrodinger's War both imminent and unthinkable there is, to be blunt, only so much that can usefully be said about Russia and Ukraine. I start with a few observations on whether insiders are trying to warn Putin off escalation and what it means if Russia does launch a full-scale invasion (in short, welcome the Brezhnevian stagnation and the rule of the hawks), before turning to some listener questions. Specifically, why Russia is so good at hacking the international system, whether it will stay in Syria through 2022 (yes) and whether Bortnikov will retire (also yes).
I talk about putative FSB director-elect Korolev in a piece for Raam op Rusland here, and talked about the debate over recognising the Donbas pseudo-states in this IMS episode.
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Something of a magazine episode. In the first half I talk about my being banned from Russia (here's the Foreign Ministry announcement), Putin at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Lavrov interviewed by the BBC (see more here) and Pertsev's recent article about the elite in Meduza...
In the first part of this slightly rambling episode, I develop on a theme I covered for the Sunday Times (here) on whether Moscow will move beyond annexing the Donbas and Lugansk People's Republics and actually seek to grab more territories. And why on earth might anything think this a good...