The war started by Russia on February 24 has every chance of becoming an object of academic research. On its basis, practical situations can be modeled in the areas of comparative political science and practical geopolitics. The main thing is that this war proved that even in the 21st century, the classic concepts of real politic are applicable and define the contours of the future world.
Putin is testing the NATO collective security system, which is the key to the integrity and security of Western countries. Russia made an unprecedented geopolitical challenge: by unleashing a war with Ukraine, it went for broke and put on the line the existing system of international relations that took shape after 1945, in which the Kremlin was one of the leading players. The idea of restoring spheres of influence is a big throwback to the past and a big blow to freedom and democracy in the world. This is exactly what Putin wants: to force the civilized world to reckon with the totalitarian imperatives of the Kremlin and to sacrifice some countries in the face of the threat of a “big war”. The West has taken restraining steps: the sanctions imposed against Russia should bleed its economy, and will inevitably be reflected in the financing of the army. The confrontation has gone beyond purely military operations, and manifests itself on the informational and ideological fronts. It is believed that there has been a final break between Russia and the West, which the Kremlin associates as the main enemy.
Both Ukraine and Russia have found themselves in the most difficult situation since 1991. And if the first is forced to fight for freedom and independence, then the second has received long-term challenges, some of which may mean a threat to Russian statehood in its current form. The rapid decline of the Russian economy provokes separatist tendencies due to the disproportion of contributions to the Russian budget by different subjects of the federation. The first prerequisites for a possible collapse of the country appeared immediately after the collapse of the USSR, but the Chechen wars and the tough repressive apparatus managed to keep the huge Russian state monolith. The current crisis in Russia is another prerequisite for the emergence of separatist tendencies. The West is already preparing for such a scenario, which increases risks and threats along the entire perimeter of Russian borders. The situation is complicated by the fact that the hypothetical collapse of the Russian Federation into several subjects will mean the emergence of several new nuclear “states”, which completely levels the collective security system and denounces the existing NPT. For the international community, especially for the countries neighboring Russia, this is an unprecedented challenge and a real possibility of a series of wars with a probable nuclear strike. In fact, an integral Russia is a much smaller threat to the world than a fragmented one. The West is economically depleted, sanctions have a mutual effect, and in the new geopolitical realities, neither NATO, nor even individual countries, will be able to find an adequate response to eliminate the threat posed by several actors that possess nuclear weapons and do not have any foreign policy obligations.
Therefore, the most effective solution to appease Russia can only be a change of power with the help of a “palace coup” in the Kremlin. A lot of influential people in Russia have suffered huge losses and are not happy with Putin’s policies. The current Russian government in the Russian Federation will not compromise a priori, and has chosen the path of confrontation. Therefore, there are no prerequisites to end this war quickly and with the least losses. Its continuation carries the risks of a complete loss of control over the situation. Removing Putin from power is the only effective way to resolve the situation at this stage.
Ukraine has a strategic position on the world map, vital communications pass through its territory and it serves as a buffer between the West and the East. That is why any military action on its territory is absolutely unacceptable. Ukraine needs military assistance, and with an appropriate arsenal of heavy weapons, it is capable of inflicting unacceptable losses on the Russian army, but only the complete removal of Putin and his associates from power can neutralize the threat that the whole world is facing.