As the conventional war in Ukraine continues and military operations intensify, Russian President Vladimir Putin is wrestling with the need to maintain his fight in Ukraine while demonstrating to the Russian people that he is winning in the following three key areas: land, security, and identity. For Putin to save face domestically, he must abide by specific demands, directly linked to these three pillars, that he has put forth since Feb. 24, 2022. The first two demands pertain to the security dimension, while the third is related to land and the fourth and final demand is rooted in identity. We will first describe Putin’s original demands and assess whether or not he is likely to backtrack on them. In the event that he is, we will then explore the possible set of strategies or tactics that Putin could use to save face domestically.
The full text of the article is available via Middle East Institute.