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Why Vladimir Putin Has Already Lost This War

Ukraine may yet be conquered by the Russians. In the past few days, Ukrainians have shown that they will not let them hold it.

It has not even been a week since the war. The situation appears to be heading for a historic defeat for Vladimir Putin. He may win all the battles, but he will lose the battle. Putin’s dream of rebuilding the Russian Empire has always been based on a lie. The lie is that Ukraine is not a real state, the Ukrainians are not a real nation, and the people of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Viv are rushing to rule Moscow. This is a complete lie. Ukrainians are a nation with thousands of years of history. Kyiv was an important metropolis when Moscow was not even a village. But the Russian dictator has told his lie so many times that he seems to believe it himself.

While plotting to invade Ukraine, Putin relied heavily on known information. He knew that Ukraine was nothing compared to Russia in military power. He knew that NATO would not send troops to help Ukraine. He knew that because of Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas, countries like Germany would be reluctant to impose a strict embargo on Russia. Based on all this information, Putin intended to hit Ukraine quickly and sharply. The overthrow of the Ukrainian government and the establishment of a puppet government in Kyiv. And handling Western blockades.

But there was a gap in the plan. As the Americans have learned in Iraq and the Soviets in Afghanistan, it is not as easy to occupy a country as it is to continue that occupation. Putin knew he had the power to occupy Ukraine. But will the Ukrainian people accept the puppet government of Moscow? Putin bet he would take it. After all, his repeated explanation to any interested listener is that Ukraine is not a real state and that Ukrainians are not a real nation. It goes without saying that the people of Crimea did not put up any resistance against the Russian invaders in 2014. Why something different will happen in 2022?

As the days go by, it becomes clear that Putin is losing his game. The Ukrainian people are building resistance by risking their lives. They are gaining the admiration of people all over the world. And winning the war. Many dark days are ahead. The Russians may occupy all of Ukraine. But in order to win the war, Russia must maintain its hold on Ukraine. And they can only do that when the Ukrainians give up. It seems that the Ukrainians will not give up.

Each destroyed Russian tank boosted the morale of the Ukrainians. Each of the slain Russian soldiers emboldened the Ukrainians to build resistance. And each of the murdered Ukrainians increases the hatred of Ukrainians toward the Russian occupiers. Hate is one of the ugliest emotions in human beings. But hatred is a hidden treasure for the oppressed nations. Deeply rooted in the heart, it inspires resistance from generation to generation. Bringing back the Russian Empire would require a relatively bloodless victory for Putin, which would lead to a relatively hate-free occupation. As much as Putin is killing Ukrainians, he is making sure that his dreams do not come true. Mikhail Gorbachev’s name will not be written on the death certificate of the Russian Empire: Putin’s name will be written. When Gorbachev left power, he left the Russians and Ukrainians as brothers. Putin has turned Russians and Ukrainians into enemies. In doing so, he confirmed that, from now on, the Ukrainian nation would define itself in opposition to the Russians.

A Ukrainian family leaving Kyiv; Image Source: AP Photo / Emilio Morenatti

Nations are created through stories in the final judgment. As the days go by, new stories are being added to the Ukrainian coffers. Not only will they tell these stories in the coming dark days, but they will also tell them in the coming decades, in generations to come. The story of the president, who refused to flee the capital, told Americans that his weapon was not travelled. The story of the soldiers on Snake Island who told a Russian warship, “Die.” The story of the civilians who lay on the road to stop the Russian tanks. Nations are made up of these elements. In the long run, these stories have more power than tanks.

And like everyone else, the Russian dictatorship knows this. From an early age, Putin grew up listening to stories of German massacres during the siege of Leningrad and the resistance that Russia built. He is currently making a similar story, but it is played by Hitler.

The story of the heroism of the Ukrainians is not only inspiring the Ukrainians, but it is also inspiring the whole world. These stories embolden the governments of European countries, embolden the US administration, and even the oppressed citizens of Russia. If the Ukrainians have the courage to stop a tank empty-handed, the German government may have the courage to supply the Ukrainians with some anti-tank missiles, the US government may have the courage to separate Russia from Swift, and the Russians may have the courage to take to the streets against this futile war.

We can all dare to contribute in one way or another. It could be donating, welcoming refugees, or helping to fight online. The Ukraine war will shape the future of the whole world. If dictatorship and aggression are allowed to prevail, we will all suffer the consequences. There is no chance of being a mere witness Gopal. It’s time to dump her and move on.

Ilona Koval, from Odesa, weeps as she travels together with some of the girls she trained as figure skaters, at a temporary refugee camp on the Ukrainian border in Palanca, Moldova.

Unfortunately, this war is going to be protracted. In many ways, it may last for years. But the most important issue has already been determined. In the last few days, some things have become clear to the world. And that is — Ukraine is a real state, Ukrainians are a real nation, and they do not want to live in a new Russian Empire at all. It remains to be seen how long this message will take to break through the thick walls of the Kremlin.

This article has been published on TheGuardian.com

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