Author: Pavel Baev

Could Annexation be Putin’s Response to NATO Enlargement?

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has energized the North Atlantic Alliance in every possible way, reviving its purpose and unity, and granting it new attractiveness in Europe and greater prominence in the Indo-Pacific. The prospect of Finland and Sweden joining the 30 member-states was hypothetical last autumn, when Moscow issued the ultimatum demanding that NATO curtail… Read more »

On the Big Occasion of May 9, Putin Had Nothing to Say

It stood to every political and strategic reason that President Vladimir Putin would announce a major decision opening the Victory Day military parade at the Red Square. Over the years, he has altered the meaning of this holiday from celebrating the allied triumph in the struggle against Nazi Germany to celebrating the might of Russian… Read more »

Escalation of Lies and Threats Leaves Putin with Two Bad Choices

The deadlocked war has delivered Russia to an impossible situation where it can neither reckon with reality nor keep denying it. The official discourse on and the societal response to the unfolding disaster have so far contained a peculiar mix of patriotic mobilization and pretense that normal life continues undisturbed. The intensity of official propaganda… Read more »

No Sensible End-Game for Russia in the Badly Mismanaged War

Predictions of a decisive offensive in Donbass and speculations about peace talks have gained new intensity in both Russian propaganda and Western commentary last week – and neither makes much sense. Artillery and air strikes on the solid Ukrainian defense lines in several key directions on the battle for Donbass have escalated, but Russian battalions,… Read more »

Failure Looms Over Russia’s Decisive Offensive in Donbas

Triumphalist rhetoric coming out of Moscow notwithstanding, Russia’s war in Ukraine is not progressing according to plan (see EDM, April 11). Nevertheless, President Vladimir Putin repeated yet again last week (April 12) that the central objective of the massive re-invasion of Ukrainian territory starting on February 24 purportedly was always limited to seizing the whole of… Read more »

Russia’s Quick Victory Vanishes, as Protracted War Looks Inevitable

Russia has revised its war plan multiple times during the, so far, seven-week-long, ill-conceived large-scale invasion of Ukraine, yet it still remains incompatible with both tactical imperatives and political ambitions. The consecutive revisions themselves have been flawed in different ways: if the initial “Blitzkrieg” design was based on the assumption that the Ukrainian military would… Read more »

Putin’s First Assertive Move On the Energy Front Goes Astray

Combat operations on all key fronts of the Ukraine war continue non-stop, even if without decisive action, but the transit of Russian natural gas to Europe through the Ukrainian pipeline system continues without interruptions. This may appear aberrant given President Vladimir Putin’s well-documented propensity for “weaponizing” energy exports against European customers, most crudely during the… Read more »

Russia’s Strategic Confusion in Ukraine Deepens and Widens

For at least the past 3 weeks of the 33-day-long war against Ukraine, it has been clear that the Russian offensive has lost momentum, with its key groupings of forces stuck in the suburbs of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv. The question that all concerned observers have been asking is what the ostracized Russian leadership will… Read more »

Stalled Military Offensive and Unfolding Political Defeat for Russia in Ukraine

One striking feature of Russia’s fast-evolving war against Ukraine is the highly uneven dynamics of escalation in its different domains. The economic pressure on Russia has reached the level of extra-high intensity and keeps growing daily, for instance, as Halliburton and Schlumberger, two major oilfields servicing companies, announced the closure of their business activities over… Read more »

Will the Russian-Ukrainian War Resonate in Syria?

The predictable and yet shockingly brutal Russian invasion into Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has in the course of three weeks sent many tremors across the world system. Major stock markets experience strong corrections, oil prices register new highs, importers of wheat and sunflower oil are nervously checking their stocks, but one place that hasn’t… Read more »