How can Putinʼs regime fall and split in Czech society because of Ukraine. The worldʼs leading publications about the war on November 4

Sasha Sverdlova, Anton Semyzhenko
How can Putinʼs regime fall and split in Czech society because of Ukraine. The worldʼs leading publications about the war on November 4

Andrey Boyko / «Babel»

Daniel Treisman, professor of political science at the University of California, writes about the risks of the collapse of Putinʼs regime in an essay on Foreign Affairs. He considers the probability of a putsch in the Kremlin to be low, but another threat poses a danger to the dictator ― the complete collapse of the regime due to the inability to cope with numerous challenges. Treisman cites a study of wars between 1919 and 2003, which shows that in most cases, after losing wars, dictators stayed in power for at most a year. There is little chance of a coordinated rebellion in the Kremlin, because Putin has built the system in such a way that different bodies supervise each other. The author refers to an analysis of the business and informal networks of the 100 most influential Russians, which found that there are very few connections between the representatives of the top, so they wonʼt be able to coordinate in an attempt to change the government. Therefore, Putinʼs regime is more vulnerable to "paralytic collapse" due to the accumulation of errors in the decision-making system. Treisman names the two main problems of the regime that Putin has been building for 22 years: a weak vertical of power and the need to constantly demonstrate strength. The decision-making system in the Kremlin is closed on Putin ― all verticals lead to the same top. This type of management can work in calm times, but during a major crisis, problems pile up and the top has to simultaneously deal with economic challenges, fights within elites, protests, etc. The greater this load, the more often errors will occur and the faster the control will be lost, the author believes. Second, the constant need to demonstrate strength requires faith in its steadfastness. As soon as it becomes questionable, the regime is in danger. This happened, for example, with the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, writes Treisman.

The Wall Street Journal published a column by its Prague correspondent, William Nattrass, who writes about the danger of polarizing society in the Czech Republic and Slovakia due to attitudes towards support for Ukraine. Both countries show unequivocal support for Ukraine in the war with Russia, while their leaders are dismissive of the part of the population that criticizes this support. On October 28, mass protests took place in the Czech Republic, the participants of which blamed the increase in the cost of living on the costs of aid to Ukraine. On October 30, pro-Ukrainian demonstrations also gathered mass support. The Ukrainian issue thus became a matter of domestic politics and a factor in the “culture war” between the richer urban pro-European population and the poorer rural population. Those who support Kyiv at the same time call for progressive values ​​― for example, the pro-Ukrainian protests in Prague also emphasized support for LGBT communities. Instead, their opponents are Eurosceptics and conservatives. As an example, the author cites a recent survey of public opinion in Slovakia, which revealed that more than half of the population would like to see Russia as the winner of the war. This population is a significant proportion, so simply ignoring it or calling it "extremists" will not help governments unite citizens, and instead will only increase division.

Political scientist Anton Barbashyn writes in Al-Jazeera about the content and interpretation of Putinʼs speech on October 27 at the meeting of the Valdai Club. Although the speech was mainly filled with complaints about the West, the author believes that for a better understanding of Putinʼs global strategy, it is important to examine its main messages. The main idea of ​​the speech is that the war in Ukraine is part of the Russian Federationʼs grand strategy aimed at “ending the era of unipolarity”. As part of this opinion, Putin laid out several different messages aimed at different target audiences. For China and India, he spoke of the prospect of an end to US hegemony, which promotes Western values ​​of human rights and democracy. For the "global south", Putin mentioned Soviet slogans about respect for sovereignty and criticism of "neocolonial" globalization. The leader of the Russian Federation did not miss the opportunity to appeal to conservatives in the West: here he criticized the culture of abolition and reminded of the "Christian basis" of Western civilization, which contradicts "dozens of genders and gay parades”. Together, these messages should signal that the war in Ukraine is a local conflict not worthy of the worldʼs attention, and the cost of supporting Kyiv is too high. In essence, Putinʼs version of a "multipolar world" means nothing more than the ability of those in power to do whatever they want without consequences from the international community, the author concludes.

"In the first days of the offensive, we watched the actions of the Russians and thought, ʼAre you making fun of us, or why are there so many mistakes in your actions?ʼ Then we realized that they are just dumb. There are lots of them, but they are very dumb." This is how 33-year-old Stas Volovyk, a Ukrainian military man, describes his impressions of the first days of the war for an NPR report. There was a lot of improvisation in the actions of the Ukrainian army at that time. For example, Stas and his brother, Anatoly Nikitin, were given an NLAW with instructions to destroy one of the tanks headed in their direction. They didnʼt know how to use an anti-tank projectile, so they hid in the trees and watched YouTube videos to learn how to operate the device. While they watched the video, it became clear that the tanks were ours, not the enemyʼs. "Then we had a lot of chaos”, recalls 40-year-old Nikitin, in peaceful life the head of a construction company. "The saving grace was that the Russians had even more chaos." Eight months have passed ― and Volovyk and Nikitin, having spent some time as privates in the trenches, are now engaged in aerial reconnaissance. Their division Fireflies operates near Kherson ― and due to its active presence in social networks resembles a technological startup. The publication describes how the Fireflies use the latest devices in what they call "high-tech trench warfare": YouTube still comes in handy here, but the complexity of the fighting compared to the end of February has increased many times.