War between countries in Europe, with physical soldiers killing both each other and civilians, I have thought was somewhat unlikely. The next conflict I have assumed would be taken place in other arenas and be about other values than physical land. Countries in Europe I have assumed are too intertwined and interdependent economically to start wars against each other. I have also seen the extensive travel between countries as a good vaccine against conflicts and history also shows that whoever starts a war usually becomes the big loser in the end. Another argument against war, I have thought, was that no leader of a European country today would sacrifice the lives of its own citizens for some diffuse and uncertain goal.

On this basis, I believed we were protected against another great war in Europe. But how wrong I was. The explanation for my miscalculation, I think, lies mainly in the fact that I have started from a Western individual-centered democratic perspective and assumed that Russia also basically are governed by this perspective.

We, in the Western, world put the value of the individual first. Everyone has only a short life to live and the purpose of creating a society is to enable the best possible life for every individual.  The collective are these individuals, together, trying to achieve this. Since the value of the individual is highest, it must also be the individuals themselves who determine the content and rules of the game for this cooperation. Only they know what they want. There is no obvious goal to strive for. The goals are set on the way and constantly changing as there is no real purpose or meaning to life and thus no goal with the cooperation itself , except for the benefit this can create for the individuals.

Against this stands a system in which the collective itself is the goal. This is based on the idea that the collective is more important than the individuals and that the individuals have only a value in relation to this collective and are therefore replaceable and can easily be sacrificed. This makes only sense if you see people as ants in an anthill where every individual’s goal only is related to the preservation of the anthill. In the human world, however, this perspective becomes problematic as each “ant” has a consciousness and a will and basically only can live for their own sake. The system must therefore be able to always produce some benefit to the individual so that they are satisfied, otherwise it is based solely on coercion and submission. In a dictatorship, however, it is not a question of preserving the “stack” itself, but of preserving the individuals who have power over the stack, but that Is something they must hide for the citizens.

This leads to a situation where the leadership always will be afraid of the citizens. They will always be alone and never have friends and defenders. The “friends” they have exist only if they can gain something to their “friends”. The leaders must therefore always convince the rest of the “stack” that they are more dangerous than they really are because they know that they have no chance if the “stack” turns against them. No one will come to their rescue if the “stack” decides to eat them. 

Putin have now put himself in a very precarious position after many years in power. Basically, he is a criminal, a very successful one. He has stolen an enormous amount of money from his compatriots by creating and maintaining an advanced crime syndicate together with his companions. The closest we can get in the world of fiction is Ernst Stavros Blofeld, leader of the crime organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E in the James Bond world, although Blofeltd must be seen as a petty trader by comparison. Putin’s crime over the past 20 years can probably be described as the “crime of the history”, but in the end he has taken “water over his head”, just as all Bond villains always do when they get hubris.  

The consequences of Putin’s crime, however, may paradoxically have laid the groundwork for his downfall. The society that Putin’s criminal activities have created is a society marked by corruption and, as a result, incompetent leadership, and an inherent fear. This have been financing with money which should have gone, for example, to defenses, which instead ending up in someone’s pocket, including Putin’s own. This has probably led to Putin starting a war based on a flawed and fundamentally inaccurate intelligence analysis and to a lack of war success. 

So, what conclusions does this lead to? I believe the Russians will lose the war. The army is unmotivated and poorly trained and suffers from incompetent leadership.  Later, corruption will manifest itself in both material shortages and quality problems. This will not stand up against an army of individuals who defend themselves, their families, and their country with the support from a large part of the rest of the world. But losing the war, unfortunately, I do not think is a possible option for Putin as this would put an end of his personal life.

Putin has probably already concluded that his position of power soon will be ended. He has burned all the bridges.  His ability to serve as the leader of a state is no longer possible and the people in Russia will sooner or later turn against him. The question is, how will he end up his life? Dead and humiliated, brought before the courts or let the world blow up with him?  If he decides the latter, our hope will be set to a possible self-preservation drive of his surroundings or a revolution or that his nuclear weapons, because of corruption, not will be working.