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Putin Bites Off More Than He Can Chew – OpEd

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There is a general perception around the world that Putin invaded Ukraine, expecting that it would surrender in a day or two unable to withstand his powerful army. Obviously, Putin must have expected that before the USA and other NATO countries could react to his invasion, he could finish the job and then face the criticism and opposition from others suitably. But, this has not happened .

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Putin is now in an awkward situation, as Ukraine has stood against his onslaught with tremendous determination, with millions of people around the world applauding Ukraine and in equal measure condemning Putin.

What is even more embarrassing for Putin is that his own countrymen are not supporting the war, as is clearly evident from the protests by the Russian citizens who eloquently shout “no war” in Putin’s face. The mass protest has not been toned down, inspite of the warning issued by Putin to the protesters and arresting the protesters.

Looking at Putin’s adventure in Ukraine, one is reminded about Hitler’s historic mistake in invading Russia during the World War II. Hitler expected that his forces could enter Russia in a very quick time — and his troops advanced into Russia for sometime. Later on, the Russian forces defended the territory with determination to the utter surprise of Hitler and he lost heavily in the process. Putin’s gamble in Ukraine is almost similar to the gamble by Hitler against Russia in World War II.

The well known fact is that is that Hitler lost the war after this gamble in Russia. Will the same fate happen to Putin also?

People around the world are extremely angry at Putin for his merciless bombing of Ukraine, a comparatively small country, and destroying its buildings and infrastructure facilities, killing innocent people and forcing more than half a million women, children and aged people to run away and take refuge in other countries. Putin started the war and he now stands as a villain in the eyes of the world.

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While it is a fact that the USA and NATO countries do not want to send forces to Ukraine to save it from Russia’s invasion, their voice of support to Ukraine in this hour of crisis, the sanctions against Russia, and so many other measures, is keeping the morale of the Ukranians high. At the same time, the entire Russian country is facing a humiliating condition as it is being despised by people almost all over the world

Speaking in the German parliament, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz correctly said that this is Putin’s war and not a war waged by Russian people. Certainly, millions living in Russia will appreciate this statement of German Chancellor.

Of course, the world should always be striving to achieve peaceful conditions, even if it is not happening currently. As such, peace talks have inevitably started between Ukraine and Russia. Given the world pressure on Putin and his unpopularity in Russia due to his war decision, possibly Putin would try to stop the war with some face saving formula that he would strive to make Ukraine agree during the peace talks.

Whatever may happen, certainly the Ukraine as a country should remain. The people of Ukraine have gained huge respect around the world for their determination to defend their country and the President of Ukraine is being hailed for the dignity with which he faced the attack from Russia and his moving and convincing appeal for support to other countries.

To the extent that Ukraine and its President could gain acclaim in the world forum, Putin will have tarnished his image and remain condemned as a man who brought enormous havoc to a neighboring country and killed innocent people.

In the history, Putin could get the same place as Hitler and remain as an example as to how a leader of a country should not be.

It is now up to the citizens of Russia to rebuild the image of the country and how they would do that will be watched keenly around the world.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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