Friday, 10 June 2022

Putin - the CEO of an oil and gas company with its own armed forces

Most of the reasons bandied about as to why Putin invaded Ukraine are clearly nonsense, unless he is insane. Denazification? Reclaiming lost Russian territory? A buffer zone between evil NATO and Mother Russia proper? Winning a popular war to burnish his tough guy image and distract his 'voters' from the failing economy/massive corruption (of which he is the main beneficiary)? They all seem implausible to me.

I watched a 40 minute video by Real Life Lore on YouTube which does seem very plausible, and does not presume insanity on Putin's part.

The post title is a quote from the video; he wants to be CEO of a state-owned/controlled monopoly, but a qualification for that is being President. Anything he does to remain in power is to be able to permanentaly re-appoint himself as CEO. He also has to run oil and gas half way competently to be able to pay off his selected oligarchs, with a bit left over to bribe the electorate.

Basically, all his invasions and interventions - Georgia, Chechnya, even Syria, annexing The Crimea, arming Donbas separatists, and now Ukraine proper - are about securing oil and gas reserves and/or controlling pipelines and ports (Black Sea, Aral Sea). Russia either takes the territory directly or bullies neighbouring countries into compliance (Kazakhstan, Byelorussia, Azerbaijan). There are also apparently lots of gas reserves in the Sea of Azov, which Russia now has surrounded.

And Putin got away with all the previous incursions, the West did little to stop him apart from a few token sanctions, so he thought we would turn a blind eye to this one, which we didn't. Sleepy Joe as good as declared war on him personally.

Which is also why Putin couldn't care less if he carpet bombs the Donbas and Mariupol back to the Stone Age, he needs to control the geographic territory, not the people. They are superfluous to requirements (and he'd rather they all fled, today's civilian is tomorrow's partisan).

Also, Putin fights like a girl, belying his tough guy image.
Anybody who starts bleating "But what about the Americans invading Iraq? They are just as bad!" can shut up. For sure, that was largely about oil (David Frost goaded Donald Rumsfeld into blurting that out) and not about WMDs (surely nobody believed that crap) or because Hussein was harbouring Al Qaeda (clearly bollocks).

But the Yanks did not routinely carpet bomb all the large cities, they didn't want the domestic backlash and dreamed they could win over the local population (yeah, right).

Furthermore, it was not too difficult to dislodge Hussein as a dictator, there was hardly a groundswell of popular support for him, the various factions were looking forward to fighting with each other again. Not that any of this is particularly relevant to what Putin's motives are.


Bayard said...

"But the Yanks did not carpet bomb all the large cities, they didn't want the domestic backlash and dreamed they could win over the local population (yeah, right). By their admittedly low standards, they went out of their way to hit only military targets."

Fallujah? Which cities in Ukraine have the Russians "carpet bombed"?
I'm sorry, but this is complete Daily Mail style propaganda and bears no relationship either to what happened in Iraq, and was admitted to have happened, it's not exactly a secret, or what has happened in Ukraine and is still happening. In fact it's the direct opposite.

"generally controlling territories which Russia needs to sell oil and gas to Europe; etc."

Russia isn't exactly landlocked and had plenty of ports it could use before it went into Ukraine. Pipelines have got to end up in a foreign country, so there is no benefit to anyone to controlling all the countries in between, especially when those countries are also customers. If Russia was unhappy with Nordstream 1 running through Ukraine, there was always Nordstream 2, which didn't.

As theories go, this has to be one of the nuttiest to come out of this war and one of the ones that has the least bearing in reality, although the "Aliens will protect the UK from nuclear attack probably takes the biscuit". Mind you, if Putin was only interested in getting more money for his oil and gas, he has certainly gone about it the right way. The additional revenues the Russian state has gathered because of the rise in energy prices caused by the barmy "sanctions" will more than pay for the cost of the war. With enemies like that, who needs friends?

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, it's not my theory. It just seemed the most plausible one advanced so far. Unless he is genuinely insane. If you have a better one that explains the whole Georgia, Chechnya etc pattern, I'd love to hear it.

Also, Russia is basically landlocked - entrance to Black Sea controlled by Turkey, Baltic surrounded by NATO/EU members, Archangel is frozen most of the year and the existing oil and gas fields and pipelines are nowhere near Vladivostok. Watch the video. Read a history book. Look at a map.

Unknown said...

Seen this?
It basically endorses all you say.
FWIW pretty well all wars are about resources.

Mark Wadsworth said...

U, that's the same video I think.

L fairfax said...

I think both the invasion of Ukraine and Iraq are examples of group think.
Small groups - resistant to outside views - decieved themselves.
I think Putin probably does believe a lot of what he says - probably Covid isolation made it worse.
Blair and Bush probably believed that getting rid of Hussein would make Iraq wonderful and the world a much better place.
Sadly both groups were very very wrong and most people did think so.

Mark Wadsworth said...

LF, true. We can't rule out delusion, group think, paranoia etc. I'm just saying, assuming he is NOT insane, then this is the most likely.