Of course, Russia's aggressive foreign policy is a consequence of the weakness of the West, which does not have a well-thought-out strategy to deter Russia. After the victory in the Cold War, American politicians began to believe that the United States could already afford to pursue a more nationalist policy by refusing to support the international liberal order. Many experts in the United States now acknowledge that in the 1990s, the American political elite was to initiate a new "Marshall Plan" for Russia that could democratize Russia.

It is important to understand that modern Russian society is deeply anti-Western, because Russians associate the pro-Western vector of development with the neoliberal reforms that were supported by the West in the 1990s. Pro-Western policies, according to most Russians, have led to an economic crisis, falling living standards and unemployment, which is why Vladimir Putin has so easily established an authoritarian regime, ensuring rising incomes due to high oil prices.

For some reason, the Americans believed that they had defeated the Soviet Union, although in reality it had been dismantled by the Russian elite, which wanted to get rid of the ballast for Russia in the form of Soviet socialist republics. In fact, the Russian political elite follows the "political will" of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who believed that by releasing the Soviet republics on all four sides, Russia would become a strong nation-state. Solzhenitsyn was convinced that the collapse of the multinational Soviet empire would allow the creation of the Russian Union, of which Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan were to become members.

He believes that it is very important for Vladimir Putin to carry out his historic mission, namely to revive the greatness of Russia by creating a confederate union between the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus. Paradoxically, Vladimir Putin has not yet understood, like Kremlin ideologues, that the ideology of the "Russian world" is counterproductive to the creation of a new interstate union.

Prominent adventurer Volodymyr Lenin understood, unlike modern Kremlin ideologues, that the absorption of Ukraine must first gain the loyalty of the Ukrainian population and the ruling elite, most of whom were pro-Ukrainian at the time. As the Bolsheviks did not have a social base in small towns and villages, they were forced to form a coalition with the Ukrainian Communist Party ( Borotbists), whose members later carried out Ukrainization in Ukraine.

Russian politicians must finally acknowledge that the Russian peace doctrine does not work in Ukraine, because most of the servicemen who fought against the Russian invaders were Russian-speaking patriots of their country, and the most famous volunteer battalions were created by residents of eastern Ukraine.

Former Russian security officials are convinced that Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine will be multifaceted. From their point of view, the Kremlin will take advantage of the mistakes and miscalculations of the Ukrainian government, which by its actions will provoke mass protests in Ukraine, during which Ukrainian security troops can use force against protesters who will be protected by sabotage groups created by Russian intelligence. Therefore, Russian aggression will be positioned by the Kremlin as helping the fraternal people who suffer from the actions and decisions of the anti-people oligarchic regime. It is noteworthy that so far, even after Putin's article about Ukraine where a hint was made to the Ukrainian elite, our authorities have not drawn any conclusions, because it is their greed and incompetence that brings the Kremlin scenario dangerous for our country closer.

Many American experts and politicians are completely wrong in believing that if our country is absorbed by Russia, it will become a ballast for Russia. The disloyal Ukrainian population, the guerrilla war, the multibillion-dollar losses from the occupation of Ukraine and the sectoral sanctions imposed seem to weaken Russia and provoke the anti-war protests that Vladimir Putin fears. In fact, Russia's history proves that after the territorial conquests, support for the government in Russian society has always grown, and Russian criminal propaganda has already dehumanized Ukrainians, so Russian servicemen committing war crimes against Ukrainian citizens will consider themselves heroes fighting against "Ukrainian fascists”.

Unfortunately, the West does not fully understand that after the "Ukrainian question" is resolved, the next victims of the Kremlin will be the Baltic states and Poland, against which Russia will carry out a hybrid aggression aimed at demilitarizing all of Eastern Europe and turning it into a buffer zone of the Russian Federation. Of course, like Barack Obama, we can assume that Ukraine is on the periphery of US national interests, but what kind of periphery of our country can we talk about if it is in the center of Europe. American politicians already need to think about the consequences of Ukraine's defeat for the United States, because after that it is unlikely that anyone will want to join the anti-Chinese alliances in the Indo-Pacific region.

It is unfortunate that instead of turning our country into a showcase of success for the Russians at the expense of the new Marshall Plan, which, by the way, was most feared by the Putin regime, the United States used our country to bargain with the Kremlin.

The illusions of the Americans that Russia is a declining country first allowed the Russians to increase their geopolitical influence in the Middle East, and now in Western Europe. Kremlin ideologues believe that now that the United States is focused on confronting China, Russia has a chance to increase its political influence in Europe. Russian pro-government experts are convinced that the US reversal in the United States has disorganized European countries, so in their view the Kremlin now needs to seize the geopolitical opportunity to create a Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis and invite European conservatives to create a new European security system with Russia.

The Kremlin has high hopes for the next presidential election in France. Russia's pro-government intellectuals are enthusiastic about the political activities of Eric Zemmour, a well-known French publicist who they believe could become president of France. From the point of view of Zemmur, who is a supporter of the concept of "clash of civilizations", France must become Rome, which opposes Carthage, namely the Anglo-Saxon world. Zemmour is convinced that France is the bearer of the continental mission in Europe, so it must maintain an alliance with Russia, forming the Paris-Moscow axis to confront the civilization of the sea, which, he believes, will form the strength and power of the French Empire.

When a power vacuum emerges in Europe and the United States disperses its forces from two geopolitical fronts, it is very naive to hope that the Kremlin will help the Americans contain China. Representatives of the Russian political elite are well aware that China's geopolitical defeat will leave Russia alone with the West, so the Kremlin is interested in the US confrontation with China lasting as long as possible.

American politicians, without realizing it, played along with the Chinese political elite, which now has the opportunity to mobilize the population around the confrontation with the United States. China, in fact, has a lot of domestic problems, for example, China ranks first in the world in terms of bank debt among the population. Also in China, about 600 million people live below the poverty line. The main challenge for China is the demographic decline, because the birth rate in this country is lower than in "old Europe".

China's confrontation with the United States allows the Chinese elite at the expense of nationalist foreign policy to divert the attention of the population from the social problems that exist in China, to the geopolitical conflict with America. In my view, the decision of the American elite to geopolitically confront China is deeply flawed, as it has allowed China and Russia to unite against a common geopolitical rival.

Unlike the Indo-Pacific region, where Japan and India are powerful and able to contain China, in Europe, apart from Ukraine and Poland, the United States no longer has partners who could prevent Russia from increasing its influence for political dominance in Europe. Ukraine's defeat will immediately lead to the destabilization of Poland, which will be in a semi-state. Only the creation of American military bases on the territory of Ukraine would stop the Kremlin from implementing the scenario of conquering Ukraine, but, unfortunately, the American political elite decided to use our country as a cheap resource and bait for Russia.

Taking off the "pink glasses" shows that Ukraine is receiving security assistance from the West at the level of Kurdish rebels in Syria, so American experts have already publicly stated that Ukrainians need to prepare for guerrilla warfare against the Russian occupiers. If NATO and the EU are not ready to expand at the expense of Ukraine, and the United States does not want to build its military bases in our country, then perhaps the Ukrainian authorities finally need to understand that it is time to play their own geopolitical game. For example, the Ukrainian authorities could convene the Budapest Negotiation Format to present their peace plan.

Ukraine's peace plan could include a refusal to join NATO and Ukraine's neutral status, in exchange for security guarantees and a commitment for Russia not to use its armed forces against our country. Of course, this international peace treaty, unlike the well-known memorandum, must be legally binding, through ratification by the parliaments of the signatory states.

Ultimately, Russia's political elite must understand that it is because of the illegal annexation of Crimea and the military aggression in Donbas that it has pushed Ukrainians away from the Russian Federation, resulting in an increase in our country's accession to NATO and the EU. Without the pro-Russian government in Ukraine, which would have authority among Ukrainians and be able to retain power, the Kremlin risks provoking chaos that it will not be able to control. Therefore, the normalization of relations with Ukraine on the basis of a mutually beneficial compromise is in Russia's national interests, and for this Vladimir Putin only needs to finally recognize that Ukraine is not Russia.

We recommend reading other articles by Stefan Zakrevsky from the series "Which squid game is played with Ukraine": the first part here , the second part here