Published at 07:33 on 28 February 2022
Probably not, but the possibility can’t be simply waved off, either.
A week ago, my answer would have been a solid NO, for the simple reason that to do so would be insane. Even by the warped weltanschauung of a kleptocratic fascist, it just doesn’t make sense. Kleptocrats can amass far more power and luxury in a pre-Armageddon world than they can in a post-Armageddon one. So that means giving up on a vision of a greater Russia that includes Ukraine? So what. You can’t always get what you want.
Now, I’m not so sure. First, there’s been Putin’s recent chilling statement. Perhaps more importantly, however, is the full-scale invasion of Ukraine itself. Remember, I predicted this wouldn’t happen, precisely because it would be likely to go poorly for Russia. That Putin chose to do it proves how detached from reality Putin is.
A Putin that could not see that a full-scale invasion of Ukraine was highly unlikely to be the convenient little war he wanted, just might be a Putin that can no longer see there can be no winners in a nuclear war.
My hope is that if he tries it, the obvious insanity of the idea will prompt disobedience followed by a coup. But frighteningly, he may indeed try it, and if he does, a coup is not a certainty.