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Putin Obtaining What He Most Wants To Achieve In Ukraine – OpEd


What matters most to Vladimir Putin, Yury Felshtinsky says, is “not so much to defeat Ukraine as to demonstrate to the entire world Russia’s readiness to wipe from the earth all territories which are not ready to subordinate themselves to Moscow in an unqualified manner.” And to a large extent, he is achieving that.


The US-based Russian historian of the Soviet security services and their post-Soviet epigones says that the destruction Russian army under the control of Moscow’s intelligence services has visited on Ukrainian cities and the cruelty it has inflicted on the Ukrainian people is a complete confirmation of this reality (

“The Russian leadership,” Felshtinsky says, “plans in this way to frighten the entire world and force it to capitulate; and the argument that the Russian army isn’t prepared for a major war, that is, prepared for serious losses, is the very last thing that concerns Putin. For him, it is a matter of complete indifference how many tens of thousands of soldiers Russia loses.”

“From the point of view of rational people,” he continues, “war is an insanity and Putin is insane. But here is the problem: Putin, the Russian leadership and the Russian people in its current state are absolutely irrational. Was Hitler insane? Was Stalin insane?” The answer doesn’t matter if thousands supported them and support Putin now.

“Russia is governed by a corporation of state security officers, the FSB, which finally seized power in the country in 2000 when it was able to install as president FSB director Putin. Over the last 22 years, Putin has become first among equals; his power and authority are unlimited.”

Putin and his team have eliminated those who do not agree with him, Felshtinsky says; and now, “the leadership of Russia is monolithic; and if something happened to Putin tomorrow and he disappeared from the political arena, he would be replaced by another collective Putin and everything would remain the same.”


The only thing that could change the situation is the dissolution of the FSB and the introduction of a prohibition against its return under any name whatsoever. And for that, the analyst says, Russia “must suffer a military defeat comparable to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.”

According to Felshtinsky, “the war in Ukraine is the best illustration of how irrational the special services of Russia and the Russian leadership which they staff in fact are.” Consider what a good position Russia was in as of March 2014 and what it finds itself in now, he observes. But Moscow went to war and sacrificed all of that in order to try to intimidate.

That is what any Russian government dominated by the security services will do regardless of Putin, however much Russians or Westerners want to believe otherwise. Russia has never been a democracy and could not become one in 1991 because of the dominance of the security services.  

Only if they are finally defeated will Russia and the world have a chance for a  better future.

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] .

3 thoughts on “Putin Obtaining What He Most Wants To Achieve In Ukraine – OpEd

  • July 25, 2022 at 3:14 am

    Totally agree, it must be a real defeat but something more should happen, fracturation of the Russian confederation in 8 to 12 new state. Then the real danger of Russia will disappear for the next 25 to 40 years. Total denuclearization and the lost of his siege a Un security counsel also must happen.

  • July 25, 2022 at 2:11 pm

    I am not sure how Russia could move forward. Its political identity formed over hundreds of years involves total authoritarian control. They have shown they do not understand how, nor do they have the political will and patience required, to build a more equal system. Attempts at change have resulted in just a different group but similar results. Other satellites have been willing to endure in order to prosper from a better system, with varying results. The Baltics have done well from that perspective. Poland as well, although it was drifting back. Ukraine was jerkily improving, although the constant Russian meddling was making the situation very murky. It still seems to be.

  • August 7, 2022 at 6:57 pm

    The problem is a military defeat of Russia in 2022 similar to Germany in 1945 is not possible as the elephant in the room is Russia always has the capability to cause terminal harm to all of its enemies at a moments notice…..and if the FSB is as irrational as you say…..before they allow themselves to be defeated they will make sure everyone loses.


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