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

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)

Citizen, are you doubting the official geographical survey that clearly indicates that Putin himself raised seven hills by force of will alone? Will you please step over there next to the window; I want to see you in most clear light.


And in the “Be Careful What you Wish for” category, here’s an article in the NYT which suggests that Putin’s most likley successor is Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group.

As awful as he is, it would still be better for the world if Putin died and Prigozhin replaced him. Prigozhin cares about money and power and being alive. Putin is dying and his legacy is irrevocably tied the war in Ukraine, so there’s a far greater risk that Putin says fuck the world and tries to deploy nukes.

I wouldn’t bet on that. Prigozhin is the real authority behind the Wagner Group and he has an investment in maintaining control over the Donbas region and the Crimea. For any leader, pulling out of that conflict is going to look like weakness, and that is the worst quality in any Russian leader, far moreso than being corrupt, venal, or even incompetent.

People have been prognosticating on Putin’s imminent death due to supposed health issues for the last couple of years, and except for a puffy face and oddly gripping the table at times nothing has come to pass; ditto or a palace coup or abdication to leave the problems in the hands of some hypothetical chosen successor. Thus far, none of this has come to pass. Putin may die tomorrow or he may last another decade, and I don’t think anybody has the Machine of Death card on Vlad. The one thing we can be certain of is that Russia is in an inevitable demographic slide and almost certain economic collapse, and when that happens there is going to be a lot of uncertainty about who controls the world’s second largest nuclear arsenal (although what state of readiness it will be in at that point is in question), so the issue of nuclear surety and the stability of Russian leadership is a concern regardless of whether Putin is in power or not.


And that’s a straw man, making the perfect the enemy of the somewhat less unpredicatble and dangerous. I know who Prigozhin is, I am not arguing that he is a force for good. I am arguing that unlike Putin, he has something to lose.

What is your argument that Prigozhin is more likely to deploy nuclear weapons than Putin, a man near the end of his life whose place in history is irrevocably linked to the losing war in Ukraine?

I didn’t make that argument; please reread my post. What I did say is that even if Putin goes away by whatever mechanisms does not mean that the occupation of Ukraine ends or that the threat of nuclear exchange goes away.