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The signs of Russia’s defeat

Frederick Lauritzen

15th December 2023


It is unclear if Russia is winning or losing in Ukraine. All information appears contradictory which means our point of view is mistaken. We should look at the signs we would expect to see if Russia were losing.


Loss of control of the Baltic. The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO means that the Baltic Sea Fleet can only go from Saint Petersburg to the base of Kronstadt (Kotlin Island) just over 50km without asking NATO permission.


The Neutrality of Kaliningrad. Air defence systems have been removed from Kaliningrad, effectively creating a neutral zone. This could lead to a special partnership with the EU.


The Black Sea Fleet abandons Sebastopol. Many ships left Crimea and went to the port of Ochamchire in Abkhazia in October 2023.


Closure of all Western borders. This is a problem given that Europe is the natural trading partner for all western Russia.


The Special Military Operation is not led by special forces but by regular conscripts. The military conscription rules have changed to include as many new troops as possible. This indicates unexpected losses.


The inclusion of prison inmates in army recruitment schemes. Once their term is over, they will return to normal civilian life, probably unreformed, with an addition of war trauma. The persons who denounced them and sent them to prison will need to live beside them.


Women protests. Mothers and Wives has set up several groups to protest the absence of their sons and husbands called for military service. The main precedent was 8th March 1917 women’s protest which led to the abdication of Czar Nicholas II on 15th March 1917.


Military stagnation or failure has forced Russian diplomacy to promote tensions in conflict zones outside Russia/Ukraine. The aim is to weaken the foreign effort in Ukraine, which is no longer sustainable for Russia.


The sanctions have made Russia dependent on former USSR countries. Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan have had exponential increases to imports from the EU. The reason is that these imports are then sold on to Russia. These sales avoid the sanction regime. However, those countries are adding a premium for their benefit. Russia depends on these imports and therefore must treat former subjugated countries (in the USSR) as equal partners if not as superiors: a form of reverse colonisation.


Collapse of Russian presence abroad. The Caucasus has no meaningful Russian presence for the first time since 1812. Countries like Armenia have sought diplomatic and military support elsewhere. Abkhazia has signed agreements with Saudi Arabia. Russkii Mir has vanished into thin air.


China now controls Russian foreign policy. Putin officially indicated the vassal status of Russia to China in October 2023.


China has obtained agricultural land in Russia (32 million hectares larger than all of Poland).


China has control of the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok.


China is taking control of the trans-Siberian railway.


China is diverting oil and gas supply from Europe to China.


If Ukraine and Russia ever come to a peace agreement and even re-establish economic ties (given they border with each other) the agreements will have to be signed by Ukraine in Beijing.


These signs are not good for the Russian Federation and will have a trickle down effect on the civilian population. It is doubtful Russians will just sit and watch the disintegration of their lifestyle.

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