Chinese scholar says Russia’s defeat in Ukraine is inevitable

FENG Yujun, Professor, Vice Dean, Institute of International Studies, Fudan University. Director, Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies, Fudan University.

Feng Yujun, a professor at Fudan University and director of the Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies, has openly stated that Russia will face defeat in its ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

Professor Yujun researched Russia-Eurasia Issues, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, International Energy Security and Diplomatic Power Relations, China’s Peripheral Security, and Russian International Relations Theory.

Feng, who previously participated in the Kremlin’s Valdai Discussion Club, has identified four key factors that he believes will determine the outcome of this military engagement.

According to The Economist, the first factor highlighted by Feng is the remarkable level of resistance and national unity demonstrated by Ukrainians. Despite fluctuations in international support, which Feng acknowledges has somewhat waned, the backing Ukraine continues to receive remains significant and impactful.

Modern warfare, which relies heavily on industrial power combined with sophisticated command, control, communications, and intelligence systems, poses a unique challenge for Russia, according to Feng. He argues that Russia’s difficulties stem in part from its failure to fully recover industrially after the Soviet Union’s collapse.

The third factor, as noted by Feng, revolves around President Vladimir Putin’s prolonged rule, which has reportedly resulted in an “information cocoon” that deprives the Kremlin of reliable intelligence. Feng suggests that this lack of accurate data and an ineffective error-correction mechanism within the Russian government have compounded the challenges faced by its military.

Despite Russia’s nuclear capabilities, Feng does not see them guaranteeing a victory. He draws parallels with past U.S. military withdrawals from Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan to illustrate that nuclear power does not equate to guaranteed success in regional conflicts.

Feng also discusses the war’s wider repercussions, particularly for Russia’s international standing and its relations with former Soviet republics. The conflict has spurred these nations to distance themselves from Moscow, increasingly viewing Russia’s imperial ambitions as a direct threat to their independence and territorial integrity.

In Europe, the conflict has led to a sharp increase in military spending and a strategic bolstering of NATO’s eastern defenses, including the notable addition of Sweden and Finland to the alliance. These developments signify a stark realization of the threat Russia poses to continental security and the international order.

Feng underscores that despite unsuccessful rounds of diplomatic mediation, China remains committed to ending the conflict through negotiations, contrasting sharply with Russia’s approach to international disputes.

In conclusion, Feng warns that if the Ukrainian conflict ends without significant changes to Russia’s political system and ideology, it could merely pause hostilities, allowing the Kremlin to regroup and potentially instigate further conflicts.

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