A Brief History of Putin: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born in 1952 to the family of Vladimir Putin (he was named after his dad), in the Soviet City of Leningrad (Lenin City) later renamed St Petersburg. The elder Vladimir Putin enlisted into the Soviet Army and fought in unarguably the most brutal war in history – the battle of Leningrad, against Nazi forces. Putin’s dad was permanently disabled after the war. Subsequently, his mom became disabled too as a result of the treacherous blockade of the city by the Nazi. Putin was the only surviving child of his parents. His elder brother died as a result of starvation occasioned by the Nazi siege and his younger brother died in infancy. It’s said that every family in Russia lost a loved one in the battle for Leningrad. For Putin, his hatred for Nazism is as personal as it is national.
At a tender age, Putin had the map of the world placed on the wall of his room. After secondary school, he approached the local KGB office (DSS equivalent) with the intention of being recruited into the service. The officers at the gate were amazed by his patriotism and advised him to study law at the university before he could apply, he did! “IMAGINE A BOY who dreams of being a KGB officer when everyone else wants to be a cosmonaut,” so said his secondary school class mistress. Putin was stationed in the Eastern German city of Dresden when the Berlin war came crumbling. He later described that incident as the, “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.” Putin’s meteoric political rise is as mysterious as the circumstances surrounding his birth. But his track record of public service would later come through for him. When Boris Yeltsin was seriously sick, the Cabal in the Kremlin needed an insider with a patriotic zeal to steer the ship of Russia. In Putin they found all the characteristics of a Russian centric president. Putin’s plug in the Kremlin was Berezovsky – an academic turned oligarch.
The Cold War: the cold war has been described as a period of improbable war and impossible peace. After Berlin was captured, the Soviet Union (who were the first to enter Berlin), occupied the Eastern part of Germany while the United States occupied the Western part. In the 1990, The Soviet Union and the US reached a verbal agreement that if the Soviet withdrew and Germany become reunified, NATO would not expand Eastward as Western Germany was already part of the alliance. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, America started making an aggressive push towards an Eastward military encirclement of Russia. The only country that Russia does not have a military buffer against NATO is Ukraine. The prospect of Ukraine joining NATO is seen by the Russians as an existential threat.
The Likely Fate of Ukraine: Russia and Ukraine are historically, culturally and racially interwoven. It’s said that modern day Russia was founded in Ukraine. The Russian orthodox church has its remote origin in Ukraine. Before the 2014 CIA engineered Maidan coup in Ukraine, that country was a politically neutral country. The government of Viktor Yanukovych signed a partnership agreement with Russia and was in the process of doing the same with the EU. Like Zelensky, Yanukovych is from the Russian speaking part of Ukraine. After the coup and the formation of a government with hardline views of Russia, Russia then invaded and occupied Crimea – which Moscow claims is historically its. In the Donbass region of Ukraine, the Russian speakers refused to recognize the government in Kiev and declared the People’s Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk. What followed was that they were declared terrorists by the government in Kiev and then came the “terrorist operation” as it was called in the East. From 2014 till date, it was reported that over 14,000 inhabitants of Donbass have died from the war. President Zelensky who himself is a Russian speaker from the Eastern region won his election on the mandate that he will bring peace to Ukraine while he negotiates with Russia. After the election, those promises were thrown into the dustbin of history the same way the Minsk Agreement and the Budapest memorandum were not implemented. On February 25 of last year, Russia declared what it referred to as a “Special Military Operation” (SMO). Since the start of the military operation, over 16% of Ukraine is currently being occupied by Russian forces alongside the Donetsk and Luhansk militia – who declared independence from Ukraine in the four regions that makes up Donbass – later incorporated into Russia.
Ukraine is at a crossroad. With over 300 thousand of Ukrainian soldiers killed and a potential Russia offensive in the offing, I predict that the offensive may change the shape of Russia’s military objectives in Ukraine. Putin may decide to extend his military aspiration to include the capturing of Kiev and effectively bring an end to the government of Zelensky and in the process makes Ukraine a geographically unviable country. If such scenarios plays out, the West region of Ukraine that historically Poland lay claim to may be incorporated into Poland. Sadly, if this ugly scenarios plays out, there may be no Ukraine in the future.
Comrade Ben Abdul is a geopolitics analyst and writes from Abuja.