Putin’s War in Ukraine, and many things associated with it, is accomplishing exactly the opposite of his goal of promoting his view of authoritarian government in Russia. Vladimir Putin has given many speeches and written essays declaring how much he absolutely detests democracy and its human rights.
Putin may be winning the war in Ukraine, but he is losing the war of authoritarianism versus democracy. And this loss will become greatly magnified when the Russian people eventually find out the truth about what happened. Putin never learned the lesson of the Cold War–that authoritarianism lost and democracy won–and therefore he is fighting that war again. And it could easily progress into a very hot war that could involve nuclear weapons and therefore become World War III, which is frightening.
That is why the U.S., along with other NATO members is refusing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s repeated request for the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Putin has announced that doing so would be an act of war against Russia, since it would require the U.S. to have its own war planes shoot down Russian war planes over Ukraine. And last week, in two speeches Mr. Putin mentioned his 6,000-strong, nuclear weapons arsenal as if he would involve in it such a war with the U.S. U.S. President Joe Biden has announced repeatedly, even before this Russia-Ukraine war began on February 24, that the U.S. would not send U.S. soldiers into Ukraine to fight against Russian soldiers. However, he has also said repeatedly stated most dramatically that the U.S. “will defend every inch of NATO territory” if Russia attacks it.
Putin has put the squeeze on his own Russian people. He has controlled the media, allowing only his lying propaganda to get to the people. He tells them the Russian invasion of Ukraine is “a special military operation” and therefore not a war. He got a law passed in parliament in which anyone broadcasting by means of media anything about the Ukraine project that differs from the Russian government’s information about it could be arrested and imprisoned up to 15 years.
But Mr. Putin, a former KGB (spy) agent of the Soviet Union, will be unable to forever prevent the Russian people from learning the truth about his war in Ukraine. The economic sanctions imposed by democratic countries on Russia will hurt the average Russian person. Eventually, Russians will feel the results of Putin’s War causing Russia to be isolated from most of the world. The result may be the same or similar as to what happened in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed mostly because of all the decades of its governing leaders lying to the people. When Russians realize that Putin’s War is just more of the same thing they experienced as Soviets, they could forever turn against authoritarianism and develop a nation of democracy. It might take several years. But if it happens, it will be Vladimir Putin who became the great advertisement for democracy in Russia.