Putin’s chosen prerogative as the presumed “pravitel” (правитель) over Russia trends in extinguishing the lives of generations of young and middle aged Russian and Ukrainian men on the outdated delusion that the prize of expansive imperial buffer territory is worth all the lives he can spend.
I have heard arguments from academics and Russian friends that all must understand Russia’s history of being invaded to appreciate its historic demands for territorial largesse as a buffer for Russians against foreign ground forces. And yet it is not really Russians who are buffered because future population and promise is spent by and for the wealth and buffering of the “pravitel,” in his Moscow bunkers and hideaway palaces.
Putin’s TV sycophant, Vladimir Solovyov, has told Russians not to fear death because “Actually, life is overrated, and as Putin said, we’re going to heaven anyway.” Translation: death for the Pravitel’s court brings glorious escape from the poorly-rated Russian life experience for the average military recruit. The KGB-affiliated propagandist of latter Soviet times made this medievally moribund selling point for Russia’s future depopulation on his television show under the guise of reverent religiosity diametric to his show’s usual content. With such speeches, Solovyov is always sure to leave his, Putin’s, and the Silovarchs’ wealth and combat exemptions out of the pep talk.
As for oligarchs, their life expectancy has gone out the window as the surviving inner-synod of the cult of power divvies up their wealth when they die early for questioning the Pravitel. This could explain why some have been found dead with their entire families, to avoid the complication of heirs, wills, and Russian probate law.
In the advanced weaponry age, territorial buffers against determined, peer-enemies are mostly anachronisms. This pushes Putin’s threats of ultimate warfare for buffer zones into the unnecessary resource-theft category. It also courts a form of Jim-Jones-like cultic mass suicide to do this in the nuclear age among nuclear powers.
As neighboring countries see how the dear-leader treats human life they will not stand for giving up their lives, living, and lands to a pravitel riding an apocalyptic horse. If they did, they would live in the pravitel’s newly targeted lands as buffer-people in the dear-leader’s next expansionist adventure. As unpromising for progeny as acquiescence is, Putin’s aggression generates justified interest in joining NATO.
Back to the prerogative piece. It is now, even today, Putin’s prerogative to admit he has been wrong-as-rot, halt the war, withdraw from Ukraine and Crimea, sue for peace, and hand off power not to one of his like minded despotic, security state parasites, but to the Russian people to share power and pool the KSA’s of the remaining intelligent crowd for their children’s hope and future.
Intelligently led majorities would likely be content to be at peace with Ukraine, enter into a joint security treaty of sorts, travel freely, do fair business in Ukraine, freely trade with and through Ukraine, enjoy tourist experiences in Crimea and Turkey, and not be sanctioned any more. All this, and keep their sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, and godfathers. All this, minus mortgaging Russia’s resources to imperial China to sustain an anciently-backward emperor’s dream that has been humanity’s nightmare. Ukraine can testify to that.
Russians too have been victims of the parasitic prerogatives of dictatorship, cynically using their culture, faith, and nationalism to horde power. Would that Putin see the light and establish a legacy with a glint of light at the end as the rare leader who repented of the errors of the past, laying down his self-centered crown and setting Russians free to live and prosper for the long term. This, rather than drive population counts lower risking entrenched servitude under the spell of a mirage.