Russia's Collapse Has Begun

It is the beginning of the active phase now. If Russian regions refuse to send
their men to the war in Ukraine, Putin's empire will collapse.

2022 Russian mobilization in Crimea. Image by Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Every authoritarian leader always tries to give to his people some kind of consolidating idea or even a dream that would rally them round him. Other than that, such national idea (dream) helps much to rule the nation for a long time, because dreams actually take a long time to come true (if they come true at all). Mr. Putin has been ruling Russia since 2000 and intended to keep doing that, but he had ruined his own plans by the idiotic and criminal war in Ukraine.

Long ago Mr. Putin has decided to restore the greatness of the Russian nation and fulfill its «special mission» in the history of humanity as he saw it. This idea is not only the base of all his further words and actions, but also a tool to achieve the main goal – the demonstrating of his own greatness. This national idea was invented in order to show Mr. Putin as a humble, but brilliant leader, creator and defender of everything Russian in the world, who is at least equal to Peter the Great.

Mr. Putin has long been creating his picture of vision of Russia and implanted it through the media into the mind of the Russian average citizen. The picture showed a great, strong, developed, rich, naive country populated with honest, kind and decent people, at least equal to the US.

Mr. Putin has always seen Russia on a pedestal and himself, accordingly, at the helm of a great country. The collective West has not. The US Senator J. McCain even called Russia «a gas station masquerading as a country». Actually, this is the main conflict between Mr. Putin and the collective West - Putin's Russia claims a higher (equal to the US) place in the world while the Western countries "do not let it in”.

Mr. Putin does not obviously want to go to war with the West, but he very much wants to recreate the USSR within its former borders. Without Ukraine with its history, dating back to Kievan Rus it is impossible. This is why Mr. Putin has long been creating an image of Ukraine as an enemy, where neo-Nazis have seized power against the will of the rest of the "normal" population. Therefore, the Ukrainian mercenaries of the insidious West must be defeated, and the "normal" population of Ukraine, which in fact is not different from Russians, must be liberated. And by all means Ukraine should be annexed as an absolutely "free" republic. To realize these goals, Mr. Putin went to war on Ukraine, which he calls a "special military operation”. However, everything went wrong for some reason.

Mr. Putin did not declare mobilization as long as he could.

He understood that the collision of virtual reality with reality (in particular, the mobilization and the real possibility to die) can destroy all his artificial picture, specially built for the Russian people. The destruction of the picture also destroys the entire building of Putin's Russia, which Mr. Putin has built so carefully for so many years.

First, Mr. Putin has repeatedly promised that there would be no mobilization, so his "partial mobilization" was an admission of his mistake, stupidity, or lie.

Second, Mr. Putin has broken his long-standing social contract with the people - he had to "properly" run the country, "raise it from its knees" and allowed their people to live normally. “Normally” means working, sharing Mr. Putin’s viewpoint at the world, going to Turkey once a year for vacation, being proud of the country, and voting for Mr. Putin and Co.

And third, mobilization will affect almost every Russian family with men of conscription age, i.e. entire Russia. Losses cannot be concealed (Russians have admitted only about 6,000 of their soldiers who died in the war in Ukraine) anymore, and this will lead to people’s discontent. People's discontent together with long-term deception is fraught with revolution and the collapse of Russia.

And Mr. Putin promised in his address to the nation on September 21 to mobilize 300,000 people to continue the war with the West in Ukraine. In fact, it could be much more - about 1 million.

Right after the speech, tens of thousands of Russian patriots of conscription age rushed from Russia wherever they could - to Europe, Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia by plane, car, and even on foot... There were many kilometers of traffic jams at the border crossings of several neighboring countries. Some European countries (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) were forced to close their borders or restrict the entry of Russians.

However, someone couldn't or didn't want to leave.

In response to the mobilization a protest movement began to rise in Russian republics and even in the capital of the country - something Mr. Putin had apparently feared. As early as September 21 more than 1,200 people were detained in 38 cities. In Moscow, in particular, protesters shouted «Send Putin to the trenches». This is how mobilization works - the right thoughts are beginning to enter the mind of Russians even in the capital.

It is fair to say that people in both Moscow and Russian hinterland do not protest against the unjust war as it should be, but against their personal involvement in it. This shows a lack of understanding, but on the other hand, it is also a very reliable and long-term destabilizing factor for Putin's empire. Mr. Putin has changed the way people think about the war. Now it is no longer watching a football match on TV. People will have to die for real, but usually nobody wants to die, especially for Putin's delusional ideas. Then more and more Russians in Voronezh and Tver will realize that this is not their war and that they are mobilized to die not for Russia, but for Putin’s governing it.

It is also very interesting that Mr. Putin has created a virtual reality for his people and believed in it himself. Now he has to be very disappointed by his collision with reality. Nevertheless, Mr.Putin keeps on proving that his vision of Russia and its place in the world is correct and made the next nonsense on September 30th. After fake referendums, he annexed four regions of Ukraine that had been partially captured during the war. He has threatened the West again with a nuclear strike in case of an attack on the new subjects of the Russian Federation and organized the celebrations on this occasion in Moscow.

By the annexation of the chunks of Ukraine, Mr. Putin is apparently trying to turn his "special military operation" into a “Great Patriotic War 2.0” to give to his people the impression of a just sacred war for their land and to encourage Russian soldiers to fight. Well, he has no choice, just raising the stakes.

In response to the annexation, the US has increased its military aid for Ukraine by another $12 billion, and Ukrainian troops nearly encircled a large group of Russian troops near Lyman in Donbass. The Russians withdrew. Ironically, Lyman is the town located in the annexed areas by Mr. Putin the day before.

Russia is ethnically diverse.

There were 83 subjects of the Russian Federation before September 30, 2022, excluding unrecognized Crimea, which has been taken away from Ukraine in 2014. Of these, there are 21 republics. The largest ones are Bashkortostan (4million people), Tatarstan (4 million), Dagestan (3 million), Udmurt Republic (1.5 million), Chechen Republic (1.5 million) and others are smaller. Each republic is nominally autonomous, each one has its own constitution, language, and legislature. Each one is represented by the federal government in international affairs. Each one is a home to specific ethnic minority with its specific culture.

Putin's mobilization is a real threat to the existence of all the national minorities of Russia. They may simply cease to exist, because they will lose a large number of young and healthy men. The fact is that men are mobilized mainly from the outskirts of Russia - from Buryatia, Dagestan, Udmurtia, etc., i.e. according to the ethnic principle. This is apparently done in order to prevent the unrest of the largest ethnic group in Russia - the Russians.

Some sources already call that “ethnical cleansing”. For example, Crimean Tatars receive a disproportionate number of summonses compared to the total population of Crimea. Thus, the first to die for Russia are the representatives of the national minorities - Buryats, Dagestanis, Udmurts, Crimean Tatars, but not Russians.

Republic of Dagestan has about 3 million people. Deutsche Welle states: “Research from the BBC's Russian service identified at least 301 soldiers from Dagestan who had died in the war — more than in any other Russian region and more than 10 times as many as had hailed from Moscow, which has a population five times higher”. Maybe that's why the protest movement against Putin's mobilization began so actively in Dagestan.

Dagestan was the first republic to make it very clear that this is not its war. Large-scale protests against Putin's "partial" mobilization began on September 25 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. People blocked federal roads and chanted "no to the war", and police and security forces fired into the air. There were also violent clashes between police and the locals.

Even the traditionally quiet and remote regions of Russia - Buryatia and Yakutia - object to the policies of the Russian authorities. In Yakutia, for example, local residents gathered recently in the center of the capital, Yakutsk, performing folk dances and shouting «no to war” and «no to genocide”.

And now imagine that many Russian national minorities will now follow the example of Dagestan. This is definitely the end of Putin's Russia and the birth of a new one. What kind of Russia it will be is unknown.

This is not a war of the Russian people. This is a war of Mr. Putin personally, so let him personally fight. Now many citizens of Russia receive summonses, but it is up to them to flee Russia (as many indeed do), go as cannon fodder to Ukraine or take up arms and defend their people and their homeland - Buryatia, Dagestan or Tatarstan in their land. National minorities have to secede from Russian Federation if they are so unwilling to send their men to the war. Now. Local elites should hold referendums and be ready to defend their choice with arms in their hands, because Russia will not let them go easily. Of course, it's scary. Mr. Putin will apparently send the National Guard of Russia there – a special half-military unit. However, 340,000 of National Guard’s fighters are not enough for all 21 republics of Russia, and the Russian army is now very busy with the war in Ukraine.

Now the mobilization quota for Dagestan will probably be reduced because of the protests and Chechnya will not mobilize at all. Putin is now very weak because of the war in Ukraine, Western sanctions, and the opposition of some of his own entourage. Now it is the opportune moment for Russian republics to finally free themselves and everything will work if each republic begins to act now without looking at the others and following its own understanding. Everyone has to take care of themselves. Mr. Putin promised there would be no mobilization. The national minorities of Russia may not sink together with Mr. Putin, but they will have to take certain risks for that.

Mr. Putin has already done everything possible to destroy the reputation of the Russian nation and to break Russia apart, with the only exception of the use of nuclear weapons. Now it is the turn of Russian people to act.

P.S. Dear Reader! I am very much interested in your opinion on the subject of this article. Please, write a comment or ask a question if you want to clarify something.
Igor Chykalov
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