Russia’s Tragedy Is It Must Lose War To Save Itself – OpEd


Ever more Russians opposed to the Kremlin are drawing a conclusion none of them can be entirely comfortable about: Russia now faces a tragedy in that the only way it can hope to save itself is by losing and admitting to losing Putin’s war in Ukraine. Leonid Gozman joins their number.

In an article entitled “The Capitulation of Russia as Its Salvation,” the opposition politician says that only Russia’s complete capitulation” in Ukraine and the demolishing of the Putin regime at home will give the world a chance for peace and Russia for development (

As he points out, “the war unleashed by Vladimir Putin does not have rational and achievable goals;” and consequently, there is no room for compromise. Ukraine can’t accept its destruction and Europe and America can’t accept what are clearly Putin’s broader goals of imperial request and destroying the international order.

“Therefore,” Gozman continues, “this war cannot be concluded as the majority of wars in history by the reaching of an agreement and compromise between the warring sides.” It must end instead as World War II, with the complete victory of one side and the complete defeat and the complete acknowledgement of defeat by the other.

That is because “any other outcome, however it is formulated, will only be a temporary breathing space after which Putin’s regime, having gathered its forces, will begin a new attack.” 

Consequently, even when Ukraine manages to expel Russian forces from its territory – “and sooner or later this will happen,” Gozman says – no agreement with a Putin regime left in place after that would keep Moscow from engaging in a new round of aggression. “Talks are necessary and possible but only about the capitulation” of Russia.

For peace rather than an armistice to come, he argues, “the final peace treaty must be signed not between Ukraine and Russia but between Russia, on the one hand, and Ukraine and NATO, on the other. Putin himself says he is fighting with NATO – and this is a rare case when he is speaking the truth.”

Such an accord must establish the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from occupied territories in Georgia and Moldova and their withdrawal from Belarus. It must commit Russia to paying reparations in all these cases. And what is the main thing, it must involve “the demilitarization of Russia and its loss of its nuclear arsenal.”

This may sound draconian, but Gozman stresses that “defeat often can be a positive development – after the loss in Crimea in the middle of the 19th century – Crimea again! – the slaves were freed in Russia. And now “the capitulation of the regime is in the interests of Russia and its people,” giving both them and the world a chance for development and peace.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

One thought on “Russia’s Tragedy Is It Must Lose War To Save Itself – OpEd

  • December 12, 2022 at 4:43 am

    Ukraine war has to be concluded and earlier the better as no war can remain un-ended. Some feel that majority of wars have not ended with negotiations but with complete victory of one side and complete defeat of the other. In the case of Ukraine war it will not happen as some well-wishers hope that “Russia Must Lose War To Save Itself.” Russia will not lose and the US-NATO Western allies combine will not allow Ukraine to capitulate. So the Ukraine war will see no winners and this war both the warring nations will be the ultimate losers a Catch-22 situation. The final peace treaty must be signed between Ukraine and Russia and NATO being a guarantor with of course the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from occupied territories.


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