Published at 08:23 on 25 March 2022
Any complete occupation would have been a very heavy lift for Russia even if they had done everything else right… and so far they have done just about everything wrong. So, assuming this all heads to what seems to be the obvious eventual conclusion, it means the invasion will have the exact opposite of its intended outcome.
The latter was for Ukraine to be cemented as an integral part of Russia. Instead, Ukraine (long an area with politics and culture that had been diverging from Moscow) will now have as part of its history a hard-fought war to preserve its independence from Russia. Wars of national liberation typically become part of the defining mythology of nations, and there no reason to suspect this will not be the case here.
Ukraine’s history also includes the Holodomor. Put those two together and there is a logical popular narrative emerging: Russia is the historic enemy of Ukraine.
Instead of being defined as an integral part of Russia, Ukraine is being defined by history as an irreconcilably distinct nation that is in no way part of Russia.
It will be, in this way, much like Finland, which had its own struggles for independence in the 20th century, one which involved several periods of conflict with first Russia then the USSR. Virtually nobody thinks of Finland as being the least bit Russian today.