Russia to ‘collapse in 3 to 5 years’ if Putin unsuccessful in Ukraine

Russian propagandist cries as he urges others to join battle

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has completed the annexation of four Ukrainian territories after signing the final papers on Wednesday. Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson were all subjected to what have been called “sham” referendums on whether to join the Russian Federation earlier this month, votes that have been condemned by international leaders.

But as Putin celebrated the annexations last week, Ukrainian forces continued to make progress in the south and the east of the country as the Russian military continues to struggle.

Throughout the conflict, which has now lasted for over seven months, the Kremlin has failed to achieve what many experts feared they would back in February.

And while Russia will claim it has now gained territory in the four annexed regions, one expert believes that the war in Ukraine will ultimately end with the Russian Federation collapsing.

Slovak academic Juraj Mesík made the claim in April, predicting that it would take between three and five years for the Russian Federation to split.

He warned that the West must prepare for this eventuality to avoid making the same mistakes that were made after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Writing for European Pravda, he said: “By not thinking about this scenario, we will not avert it – and conversely, by thinking about it, we will not cause it, even if we wanted to. Internal reasons are hidden in this, and the question is not whether the ‘Russian Federation’ will fall apart, but when it will happen.”

Mr Mesík had claimed in 2016 that the collapse of Russia was something that could happen in the coming decades. But, following the invasion of Ukraine, he now believes it could happen a lot sooner. He argues that this is now a “matter of the next three to five years.”

He said this would involve Crimea and Donetsk remaining a part of Ukraine, Georgia regaining control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, regions invaded by Russia in 2008, and Transnistria returning to Moldova.

While Transnistria remains officially a part of the former Soviet state, Russian forces have been present there since 1992.

Mr Mesík concluded that Europe must be prepared to discuss the collapse of the Russian Federation in order to plan for it.

Putin has repeatedly lamented the break-up of the Soviet Union during his time in power. In 2005, he said it was a “genuine tragedy” adding: “First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.

“As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.

“The epidemic of collapse has spilled over to Russia itself.”

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The Kremlin chief also described it as the “disintegration of historical Russia” when speaking last year, telling state TV: “We turned into a completely different country. And what had been built up over 1,000 years was largely lost.”

Last week, Putin blamed his decision to invade Ukraine on the break-up of the Soviet bloc while talking to intelligence officials from former Soviet countries.

He said: “It is enough to look at what is happening now between Russia and Ukraine and what is happening on the borders of some other CIS countries. All this, of course, is the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

The comments were made during a meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). There are nine CIS members – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

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