Putin dies. What does that do for the war with Ukraine?

If Russia was the only side in the conflict using old Soviet military gear or evolutions of it, that would be a logical conclusion, but it isn’t just Russia using Soviet era gear. Both sides are. Before the war almost every bit of military gear Ukraine possessed was leftovers from the USSR or domestic post-Cold War evolutions of it, the same as Russia. A very, very large part of the aid from the West to Ukraine, including (at the time of writing and almost a year into the war) all of the tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and aircraft provided by the West are old Warsaw Pact equipment from Eastern European NATO members. Javelins and NLAWs got all of the press as they were very visible signs of Western support for Ukraine, but Ukraine’s domestically produced evolution of the Soviet-era AT-14 ATGM, the Stugna-P is likely responsible for more of Russia’s tank and armored vehicle losses than Javelins and NLAWs.

Is better that falling out window, comrade.

Russian architecture has a curious quality of setting windows low and often facing downward such that it is ridiculously easy to accidentally self-fenestrate. You seem this same pattern of architecture repeated across the Warsaw Pact nations, although after the fall of the Soviet Union most windows outside of Russia were retrofit with safety devices to prevent this and the number of deaths from accidental window excursions decreased precipitously. The Russians, however, clung doggedly to their architectural standards regardless of the hazard they posed.

Also, most Moscovites today refer to each other as “гражданин” (citizen) as God and Putin intended. Nobody wants to be a godless commie in Glorious Modern Russia!


I was just reading in a Churchill biography where (I believe a Yugoslav) official fell out a window after a change in government.

Humor-it is a difficult concept. -Saavik

Maybe not Muscovites, but a lot of the rest of them seem to be OK with it.

The Russian Federation. Is it still communist?
Nope, " Russia, by constitution, is an asymmetric federal republic", what ever the hell that is.

It seems fitting that they should form a post-communist federation where all Russians are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Likely Jan Masaryk. It was Czechoslovakia.

Thank you.

Exactly. Most dictators try to hide their dictatorial nature, but Russia’s tsars used to be “autocrat of all the Russias”. They liked declaring that they were dictators. Under the Soviets, there was a collective dictatorship; after the brief Gorbachev era, they’ve gone back to a dictatorship. That’s what Russians collectively are used to.

Liberal democracy is a foreign concept; Russian intelligentsia worked on political theories of autocracy.

And that title “autocrat of all the Russias” also shows why there is support for invading Ukraine; historically, those other Russias were seen as part of the natural rule of Russia.

From tthe wikipedia article:

[citation needed]

Following up on @Stranger_On_A_Train 's point, I think it’s important to acknowledge that Putin’s manifesto about how Ukraine has always been part of Russia has a long ideological pedigree in Russia.

The concept of “Triune Russia” is that there are three separate Russian peoples, but they all form one nation under Moscow’s rule: Great Russians (what we now think of when we say “Russia”); White Russians (Belarussia); and Little Russia (Ukraine). That was the conception under the Tsarist regime, but according to Putin, was ripped apart by the Bolsheviks when they recognised Belarus and Ukraine as separate Soviet republics in the USSR, and then by Gorbachev, when he accepted the breakup into the three separate countries.

The significance of this history is that Putin’s manifesto can’t be seen as something he came up with on his own; it has strong roots in “Great” Russian ideology. That means that Putin likely has support for his views on this issue within the Russian government and more generally amongst the Russian people, which in turn means that any Putin successor could well have the same ideological viewpoint, which supports the war continuing until Great Russia has brought Little Russia back into the fold.

For more details, see the Wikipedia article on the “All-Russian nation”, which is related to the phrase “Tsar and Autocrat of all the Russias”:

(And as I work on this post, I keep thinking of the Sundering of the Elves in Middle-Earth…)

It’s also important to recognize that this isn’t just a lie or self-serving fiction: in fact, these three peoples / nations do share a common origin in the relatively recent past. To be clear, they are currently separate peoples, separate nations, and have hundreds of years of history in being so, just not thousands. So when Russia reaches into its own medieval past, it finds Kyiv / Kiev,* and can with some justification claim that 12th-century Kyiv / Kiev is part of Russia’s past—but so can the Ukrainians, in whose territory the modern Kyiv remains.

It’s actually quite difficult to articulate when and why Russians and Ukrainians split as peoples. As far as I can tell, it’s because Ukrainians spent hundreds of years living in territory dominated by Poland and other states that weren’t Russia, and so developed their own distinct versions of the language and culture, recognized with a separate Ukrainian SSR and then independent state. But I’m no expert, and happy to be corrected.

*Really not trying to be pro-Russian here, just complete.

Oh, I agree. I’m just trying to make the point that Putin’s arguments about Ukraine likely have some traction amongst Russians today. (Although I’m not sure I’d say that 12th century is “relatively recent” ?)

Yeah, I was trying to amplify your point. And the separation of the Russians from the Ukrainians (or vice-versa) certainly postdates the 12th century. I mean, I guess you could take the Principality of Kiev as the origin of the Ukrainians, which is fine, but the 12th-century East Slavic territories were all quite similar at that point.

Any leader surrounding himself with advisors talking about “The Third Rome” and “the seven hills of Moskva” is definitely wrapping himself in the mythology of “Great Russia”, the “World Island”, and other nonsensical geopolitical theories that make Russia somehow the center of civilization.



See also Russkiy Mir - Russian World/Russian Peace - another concept dating back to and prior to the Tsars that Putin has been promulgating.

Russkiy Mir: "Russian World" | DGAP, German Council on Foreign Relations event in 2016:

Russkiy Mir: “Russian World”

On the genesis of a geopolitical concept and its effects on Ukraine


President Vladimir Putin justified the annexation of Crimea by evoking the concept of a “Russian World” (Russkiy Mir). He spoke of Russians as living in a “divided nation” and highlighted the “aspiration of the Russian world, of historic Russia, for the restoration of unity.” He also stressed the existence of a “broad Russian civilization,” which has to be protected from external forces (particularly from the West) and which he defines as the sphere of Russian interests.

A Deliberate Development since the late 1990s

According to the DGAP’s Ukraine expert Wilfried Jilge, Putin’s intensive evocation of the idea of Russkiy Mir in 2014 was by no means a momentary manifestation during the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The concept was devised by intellectuals, academics, and journalists close to the Kremlin around 1995–2000 and publicly introduced into political discourse by Putin in 2001. In the years that followed, pro-Kremlin policy makers systematically connected the concept to their efforts to legitimize domestic and foreign policy. They applied it to a range of dimensions: ideological, political, identity-based, and geopolitical. With the establishment of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, the term was securely entrenched in Russia’s public discourse.

Are there seven hills around Moscow? Not knowing much about it, I thought it was rather flat.

Also I suppose people choose their hills. In Cape Town we have the 12 Apostles, a series of large butresses leading south from Table Mountain on the west coast.

Except there are thirteen, depending on how you count.

(E.T.A - just above the 13th is Judas Peak, so someone had a sense of humour)