Experts told Fox News Digital that President Vladimir Putin may have overplayed his hand by invading Ukraine, as resistance to the war rises in Russia.
Professor Yoshiko Herrera of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an expert on US-Russian relations, said, “This is a massive miscalculation,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Yoshiko Herrera, who is an expert on U.S-Russian relations. “This action yesterday was just another level of crazy. It’s a ruination of Russia for decades, so damaging for Ukraine and so costly all around.”
According to OVD Info, a Russian human rights organization, over 1,700 demonstrators in Russia have been arrested in protest of Russia’s unprovoked aggression on Ukraine.
The protests are particularly significant in a government that actively suppresses dissent, according to Herrera.
“The people who are taking to the streets know that they will likely end up in jail,” she told Fox News Digital. “In my opinion, even pro-Putin Russians will find this to be an exceedingly unpopular conflict.”
Putin’s approval rating was 69 percent in January, but she claims the number is deceiving since he has limited alternative political options.
Russia and Ukraine have never had a level of antagonism that would justify such a violent incursion in the past. Ukraine has elected pro-Russian officials, and the two countries regard each other as brothers rather than foes, according to Herrera.
The expert explained, “There is a lot of interethnic hospitality.” “Images of Ukrainian families, Ukrainians being killed, that’s not going to sit well with your ordinary Russian household.”
More than 57 people have been killed and 169 injured since the attack began on Wednesday. Apart from punishments, the invasion has resulted in severe societal consequences, with Aeroflot Airlines being barred from flying to the United Kingdom and the Union of European Football Associations removing the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg.
Putin’s choice is even “more perplexing,” according to Herrera, because he virtually won the war in the Donbas region, where rebels and Ukrainians have been battling for eight years.
On Monday, he recognized the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and despatched “peacekeepers,” as he euphemistically referred to them.
“As of last week, he had already achieved a lot of his goals getting everyone to pause on letting Ukraine join NATO,” Herrera added, referring to NATO, an international military organization led by the United States that aims to ensure the security of its countries.
Putin’s evident goal, according to US Army Gen. Jack Keane, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, is to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and install a pro-Russian government.
Putin has stated that he does not intend to occupy Ukraine, but rather wants to “demilitarize” the country. According to Valery Dzutsati, an assistant professor at the University of Kansas and an expert on Russia, the autocratic leader is uneasy bordering a democratic, Slavic nation that looks west rather than Moscow.
“If Ukraine is a flourishing democracy, it is a very bad example for Russia,” he remarked. Putin is worried about societal upheaval, and Ukraine has a history of toppling unpopular rulers, he said.
There is also a huge portion of the Russian public nostalgic for the USSR, who will rejoice if Ukraine is reintegrated into the Motherland quickly and with minimal violence, according to Dzutsati.
Ukraine was a founding member of the Soviet Union, and when the Soviet Union came apart in 1991, it won independence.
Dzutsati, on the other hand, does not believe Putin’s warmongering ambitions will end at Ukraine’s borders.
“Let’s suppose Putin takes Ukraine very quickly and establishes control very quickly, in a matter of weeks, then he will move on,” Dzutsati told Fox News Digital. “The next target will perhaps be one of the Baltic states.”
Putin’s military assault might not go as well as he had hoped.
“The Ukrainian army has become a much more formidable force, and there will be a lot of fighting and civil resistance,” he said. “The people will not give in easily.”
Putin’s only means of controlling Ukraine, which has a population of 40 million people, he says, is by “massive, Stalinesque repression”
“If Putin fails, if he is forced to retreat, then he is finished,” Dzutsati predicted. “He will be deposed very quickly.”