The Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed Monday to have recaptured ten more localities in the Kherson region east of the country from Russian troops over the weekend.
The Defense Ministry confirmed this information and put the total number of “liberated” areas at 90, which affects “more than 12,000 people living in these areas,” it said in a message broadcast via Telegram.
The authorities have also indicated that “complex stabilization measures” have been implemented in these localities. On October 21, the Ukrainian Army spoke of 88 localities recaptured in Kherson.
Since then, the relevant teams have performed “repair” work and operations to install, inspect and remove damaged electrical systems.
Strategic defeat for Putin
Bloomberg commentator Leonid Bershidsky recently argued that a “strategic Russian defeat” is a “wishful theory.”
The reality is that Russia — as a state and as a regime — is profoundly weak. One of the world’s least impressive performers, the economy is in a tailspin. The much-vaunted army has proven to be a paper tiger. Society is increasingly dissatisfied with declining living conditions, growing numbers of body bags, and the regime’s indifference to the fact that at least 85,000 Russian soldiers reportedly have died and at least as many are out of commission. Up to a million men have fled mobilization and certain death in Ukraine. Generals and secret policemen are at each other’s throats, hoping to shift the blame for the disastrous war from themselves.
Political and economic elites are also unhappy with the current state of affairs and talk of alternatives to Putin’s leadership has become commonplace. Putin, the linchpin of the state and regime, is manifestly weak and his legitimacy is hemorrhaging. Russians have taken to violence and armed resistance, fire-bombing draft boards, destroying railroad tracks, derailing trains, and vandalizing posters, flags and Russian symbols. None of these factors bespeaks a healthy, thriving, strong Russian regime or state.
As if this weren’t enough, the Russian Federation’s many non-Russian nations are getting visibly restive. Chechens, Circassians, Buryats, Kalmyks and Dagestanis have protested actively against mobilization. The Bashkirs, whose republic is rich with mineral resources, have established oppositionist groups — the Bashkir National Political Center and the Bashkir Resistance Committee — that have accused the Russian authorities of genocide and called for independence. The Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has a private army and, even though he is Putin’s current ally, he will be among the first to jump ship if Putin’s authority weakens to the point of impotence.
The possibility of manifold non-Russian nationalist movements arising, demanding and seizing independence is far-fetched — especially as the Russian economy, regime and battlefield performance continue to degrade. As in 1991, non-Russian elites will opt for independence as the only means of survival in a crumbling Russia.
Internal Russian weakness and continued systemic decay mean Russia will impose a strategic defeat on itself. The West does not need to invade or actively promote strategic defeat. All that’s needed is a continuation of the status quo: Ukrainian military success, Western support of Ukraine, and Russia’s internal decay.
Putin is destroying the Russia he created. A different Russia, a better Russia, is possible only if Putin goes and his Russia collapses. There’s little for the West to do but sit back, read Bershidsky’s analyses, and watch Putin’s fascism go up in flames.
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