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Putin's 'foolishness' making his regime 'brittle' as Russian economy 'scarred for decades'

Daily Express logo Daily Express 27/03/2023 Rhiannon Du Cann

This weekend saw up the ante after he announced during a TV interview that Russia planned to transport and station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus in response to the West providing military support for . The rhetoric used by the Russian President has been slammed by a representative as "dangerous and irresponsible", and one of Ukraine's top security officials said Putin is taking its ally as a "nuclear hostage". Now, one political expert and historian has told that although Putin could win in Ukraine, the impact this "dirty war" has so far had and will continue to have on Russia could be devastating - particularly on its economy.

Putin looking serious talking © Getty Putin looking serious talking

Professor Mark Galeotti, a political scientist and historian who has written several books on and Putin - most famously his 2019 title, We Need To Talk About Putin - has said that although Putin might win, everything in between will come at a great cost to the Russian President.

He described any victory as being "pyrrhic", a reference to the Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus who suffered irreconcilable heavy losses which, unlike his counterparts, he could not replenish, against Rome.

Much like Pyrrhus, Putin has lost a great deal more soldiers than he anticipated, having initially thought the conflict would last for days. The Ukrainian military has gone on to claim more than 137,780 Russian military deaths since it began.

The author of the 2022's Putin's Wars told how the war, which has now raged on for more than a year, has already weakened Putin's regime.

Putin sitting with Lukashenko © Getty Putin sitting with Lukashenko A tank next to a petrol station in Ukraine © Getty A tank next to a petrol station in Ukraine

He said: "This war and his rather foolish decisions around it are making his regime a lot more brittle so it looks very tough but it's much less flexible and less able to deal with crises.

"Russia's economy is already scarred and it's going to take years or decades to actually heal.

"So Russia might end up with some sort of swaths of territory but it might also still be under economic sanctions."

The war is predicted to have a long-standing impact on Russia's with a 30-year setback anticipated.

Since the invasion in February last year, territories and organisations across the world have imposed almost 11,000 restrictions on Russian individuals with more than 4,000 placed on entities, institutions, and vessels, according to Statista.

Last year was difficult for the Russian economy with gross domestic product dropping by at least 2.2 percent, according to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

READ MORE: Putin's arrest warrant means it is impossible 'to return to normalcy'

Buildings in Russia © Getty Buildings in Russia A man standing in a street in Moscow © Getty A man standing in a street in Moscow

Analysis from the World Bank also predicts that the country's economy will continue to shrink by 3.3 percent. However, the IMF believe there could be slight growth this year.

Just how the war might end is impossible to predict, Professor Galeotti said. Low-level fighting could continue, particularly in the contested areas, but equally the roll-out of tactical nukes could see the conflict take on a new dimension.

He added: "It might be fighting some kind of low-level guerilla war against Ukrainians in the territories it's taken over.

"Neither side is likely to be able to win a nice clean victory, shall we say, from this very dirty war."


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