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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The war of attrition between the East & the West is set to escalate with no victors in sight

Darya Dugina’s killing in a car bomb explosion in the heart of Moscow just a few days before the Ukrainian independence day will further stoke the fires in the war of attrition between the east & the west. 

The daughter of ultra-nationalist and Russian ideologue Alexander Dugin, Darya was blown to smithereens in her father’s car in downtown Moscow giving credence to theories that the bomb was meant for Alexander Dugin. 

With his head in his hands, Dugin called for a decisive victory over Ukraine. He said ” our hearts yearn for more than just revenge or retribution. It’s too small not the Russian style. We only need our victory. My daughter laid her maiden life on its altar so win please,” 

Russia is sure to hit back with savage ruthlessness at Ukraine which will further escalate tensions between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia and its allies.

 Russia’s internal security service the FSB has identified a Ukrainian lady secret agent as the perpetrator of the explosion that killed Dugin and said that she had fled to Estonia with her young daughter. 

Dugina’s killing could not have come at the worst time as the Ukrainian independence day coincides six months after a Russian invasion (24th August) & a wounded Russian ego will look for quick reprisals & lasting damage to Ukraine following Alexander Dugin’s daughter’s killing. Alexander  Dugin is credited for propagating the idea of “Russky Mir,” or Russian world, a phrase linked to helping revive the concept of “New Russia,” or “Novorossiya,” which encompasses the territory of the erstwhile Soviet Union. 

The spiraling effect of the escalating tensions between  Russia & Ukraine is sure to increase its circumference with Russia’s imminent and renewed attack on Kyiv which will be followed by an increased shipment of arms & artillery to Ukraine from NATO with the US leading the way. President  Biden has already promised 3 billion dollars on Ukrainian independence day as the prime Minister of the UK landed in Kyiv to express solidarity with Zelensky. 

None of the players are likely to gain substantial ground in the ensuing battle. Six months into the war Russia’s image has been considerably dented, its strategy or the lack of it has been exposed in front of the world as has its military prowess after what the world thought would be a cakewalk for the famed red army.

 With more than 45000 wounded or dead soldiers including generals and more than 1700 pieces of T -72 tanks lying charred on the boulevards of Kiev and elsewhere the Russian army and Kremlin are already battle-scarred and they will have to draw hugely from their reserves to annex more territories beyond the Donbas region including Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk & the port city of Odesa. In fact, the Russians could do well if they manage to retain what they have won. 

More than its military the Kremlin could use its economic weapon to strangle NATO  & America. The closure of Nordic streams 1 & 2 is sure to freeze the energy-starved Europe into a big crisis as winter looms. 

Russia could make a killing out of selling oil & gas to Europe at exorbitant rates in spite of contrary claims by the US and EU to compensate the likes of Germany, Austria,  Norway, Sweden & Britain from alternate sources which won’t be enough. 

To make matters worse both the US & UK are reeling under record levels of inflation which is impinging upon their economic growth as they are hard pressed to support Ukraine and possibly Taiwan in the near future. So neither side has it easy in this war of attrition and the task is cut out for the east and the west including  Ukraine. 

While Biden has his backs to the wall as he readies for a mid-term poll and a likely simultaneous face-off with China in the Taiwan strait, Putin is hard pressed to sustain and fund the ongoing conflict in Ukraine post the sanctions imposed by the west. Zelensky is fighting hard to keep the morale of his troops high amidst mounting casualties and also having to incessantly be a crybaby in front of the US and NATO  so that the aid and military hardware is not stopped.  

Even as the chips are down for all players in this theatre of the absurd one thing that is a near certainty is that the war will not only escalate but will also go on unabated.  All parties should brace up for a harsh winter and the world should be prepared for more economic hardships as the economies of major powers take a battering. 

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Aman Gupta
Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine


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