War has been raging in Ukraine for almost three months. The Russian president’s record of damage can already be described as disastrous: not only did Putin initiate the expansion of NATO, Russia, the world power in raw materials, has also lost the West as an important customer.
The war in Ukraine is not over yet, but Vladimir Putin’s record can already be described as disastrous. Although he enjoys the attention of the whole world, that’s about it. Here is his very personal damage record:
1. According to the Ukrainian military, 27,900 Russian soldiers lost their lives on the Ukrainian battlefield. 669 Russian tanks and 1194 armored vehicles were destroyed. The Ukrainian military was also able to shoot down 26 combat aircraft and 41 helicopters. The army, highly praised by Putin, has made a fool of itself and him in front of the whole world.
2. The Russian economy, which has never had high growth rates, is now in a process of contraction. Almost all Western companies – from McDonald’s to Mercedes to Henkel and Ikea – are withdrawing from the country. Inflation is galloping, a currency depreciation of 17.8 percent was last measured.
3. Russia can still generate profits in the energy market, particularly due to the exorbitant price increases in the oil and gas business. But important customers, including Germany, will drop out in the medium term. The raw material world power Russia has lost the West as a customer.
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4. As a result of the suspension of the SWIFT international payment system, the Russian export industry has effectively lost its access to western markets. Technology transfer was also prohibited. Putin’s country is being dried up technologically.
5. Trade with China has increased as a result of the western sanctions regime and exposes Russia to a concentration of risk. China was already the most important trading partner of the Russian Federation in 2021 in terms of import and export sales with 17.9 percent. Russia has become vulnerable to blackmail.
6. NATO’s expansion plans in the direction of Finland, Sweden and the Ukraine have created a security situation for Russia that the Moscow generals cannot please. Vladimir Putin unnecessarily ensured the encirclement that he actually wanted to prevent. This puts him in the sights of his military.
7. Russia’s economic and intellectual elite are treated like pariahs abroad. Concerts by Anna Netrebko were canceled, artistic directors like Valeri Gergiev had to go. The oligarch Roman Abramovich had no choice but to sell his football club FC Chelsea. The internationality of the Russian elite is gone. She experiences being thrown back onto the nation.
Conclusion: Vladimir Putin can no longer serve his country like this. He wanted to go down in history as the new tsar and today he seems like a second Emperor Nero, who in his delusions of grandeur let his empire go up in flames.
Gabor Steingart is one of the best-known journalists in the country. He publishes the newsletter The Pioneer Briefing. The podcast of the same name is Germany’s leading daily podcast for politics and business. Since May 2020, Steingart has been working with his editorial staff on the ship “The Pioneer One”. Before founding Media Pioneer, Steingart was, among other things, Chairman of the Management Board of the Handelsblatt Media Group. You can subscribe to his free newsletter here.