How to remain President of Russia
At the time of writing (20 December 2022), Vladimir Putin is in Belarus making arrangements with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko for a new invasion of Kiev and Northern Ukraine via Belarus.
The problem with this plan is not just that it didn't work the first time. It is that the Belarussians don't like it. They don't see the upside for them.
What do we mean when we say 'the Belarussians'?. The country is hardly a democracy. We mean the President of Belarus; but more specifically those who back him, namely the Belarussian security forces (the KGB and her offshoots).
The PALADINS Organization is not a priori critical of any particular system of political organisation of a country. Criticisms can be for the historians. The fact is that Belarus is run by the Belarussian Security Services; and they don't like this one bit.
It attracts undisciplined Russian Armed Forces into Belarus, which may compromise Belarus's hard-earned stability. The country is extremely stable, whatever else you might say about it; and the Belarussians don't like chaotic Russian rookie soldiers pillaging and raping from their borders. Belarus is not a pillaging and raping country, whatever other faults it might have.
Belarus is perfectly fine on her own, without NATO attacks upon her territory. She doesn't really care what the EU, the US or NATO thinks about anything. They are free to sanction her; Belarus doesn't care about that. Belarus has lived with international sanctions for years. But Belarus does not want to invite international military action from the West.
On 21 December 2022, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenskiy is in Washington, DC. The reason he is there is to persuade Congress to declare war on Russia in the New Year. He will probably succeed, in some way or other. The American bureaucracy is finally rolling into action. They've had enough. The Russian Armed Forces are determined to commit genocide over the 2022 / 2023 winter. This is too much for the West. We all agree that Russia must be stopped. Whatever it takes, Russia must be stopped.
Russia's military capacity is totally inferior to NATO. Russia obviously can't use any nuclear warheads; China has told her not to. Nor can she blow up the Nova Kakhovka dam, presumably for the same reason. Otherwise she would already have done it.
Belarus and her ruling Nomenklatura obviously don't want to be part of the next rung in Vladimir Putin's suicide mission. That's why the Belarussian media (that most excellent institution) hasn't advertised Putin's visit.
One thing we do know about Belarus is that their KGB and Russia's FSB are one and the same institution.
There are two groups of people you do not need to have the support of to be President of Russia (or of Belarus). One is the people (they are sufficiently paranoid to understand that they shouldn't have their own political opinions as this can be very bad for their health); the other is the Oligarchs (they can fall down stairs, accidentally breaking their necks, whenever that might be necessary).
However there is one group of people you do need the support of to run countries of this ilk: the so-called 'Services', that is to say the intelligence and security services. And they are a robust and mutually supportive set of gangs.
Hence murdering the leader of one of them is likely to cause disgruntlement amongst one's core constituency, should one be the President of Russia. To put it frankly, this sort of thing is downright dangerous.
Perhaps now the reader understands the curious order and logic of the various articles recently published about the Russian Services in this our News section in November and December 2022.
Vladimir Putin is losing the support of his Services. This will be his undoing.
Putin's travelling to Minsk (however this was done - presumably not by aeroplane or NATO or the Russian Nomenklatura would have assassinated him) will cause the Services there to be very unhappy. They have no desire for confrontation with NATO. Neither do the Services based at улица Лубянка 1. The Russian President has pushed things so far that Zelenskiy is now in Washington, DC. This is no good for the Nomenklatura.
Intelligent NATO strategy to win the war in Ukraine now involves cooperating with the Russian and Belarussian Services, who are deeply unhappy with what is going on.
The West must act intelligently, in conjunction with careful and logical diplomacy involving Eastern European Services (preferably not ones who end up falling down stairs as a result), whereupon it can obtain all its rational objectives:
A reasonable resolution to the war in Ukraine, rather than years' more mindless carnage.
The maintenance of the new regime in Kyiv, that might (just) transform itself into a legitimate democracy with a lot of money, state-buikding and cooperation with the Services. (All three are necessary.)
The containment of Vladimir Putin's genocidal mindlessness, if necessary (but better not) in conjunction with his falling down a particularly sharp set of stairs or his unusual departure from a top floor hospital window.
The PALADINS. We are here to serve.