Patrick Cockburn – So Far, Putin is the Biggest Winner in the Ukraine Conflict

Still no invasion, but here another of Patrick Cockburn’s outstanding articles covering the Ukraine crisis

Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso)

Cross-posted from Counterpunch

Photograph Source: Lazopoulos George – CC BY 2.0

So far Russian President Vladimir Putin is the biggest winner in the Ukraine crisis by converting some heavy-duty sabre rattling into real political leverage. He has succeeded so well because US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders draw political benefits from opposing or defusing the Russian leader’s unspoken threat to invade.

Putin wants Russia to be taken seriously as an international player, recalling the era when it was the core nation in the USSR. It is still a nuclear superpower, though otherwise the Kremlin today rules a much-shrunken state with a population of 144 million or half that of the Soviet Union. The Russian economy is only a 15th the size of that of the US, while the Soviet economy was a third as big.

The Kremlin will be greatly gratified by the flood of Western leaders who have made their way in the past few weeks to Moscow where they can stand tall and issue stern warnings against a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

There was British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warning Moscow against indulging in “Cold War rhetoric”, a cheeky demand given that a few weeks back Truss was accusing Moscow of grooming political lightweights in Kyiv as quisling rulers-to-be of a Russian occupied Ukraine.

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