RIGA - The war in Ukraine could last for a long time but could end next week, but the war would end if there were rapid developments in Russia, Janis Sarts, Director of the NATO Centre of Excellence for Strategic Communications, said on Wednesday in an online discussion organized by the defense industry portal Sargs.lv.
"I have always held to the view that this war can last a long time or end next week. That could happen if there are rapid developments in Russia and that should not be ruled out," said Sarts.
Sarts recalled the weird trip of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the mercenary group Wagner, to Moscow to overthrow the Russian military leadership. What Sarts remembers most was that there was no response to Prigozhin's move at the time. This indicates that the situation inside Russia is more volatile than the Russian elite itself tries to make it out to be.
Sarts also pointed out that the waning of Western public attention on the war in Ukraine is inevitable, because it is physically impossible to maintain the level of attention that existed at the outset. This in turn means opportunities for Russia, as the ability to spot Russian operations in the information space has diminished. "The truth is that when something bigger happens, attention returns," emphasised Sarts.
In terms of what needs to be done to undermine Russian public opinion and fuel people's discontent with the war, Saart cited three things. First, the effect of sanctions, which may not be immediate. Secondly, battlefield victories and Russian losses, and thirdly, Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory.
Andis Kudors, a political scientist and specialist in Eastern European politics, pointed out in the discussion that the Russian authorities are brutally buying soldiers with money and that money is a particularly important factor in poor regions where the situation is very depressed.
At the same time, Kudors pointed to the tragedy of Russian society, which manifests itself as the "silence of the lambs syndrome".
Kudors referred to an interview with a Russian woman who admitted that it would obviously be impossible to keep her husband and son safe. This means that Russians perceive this event as fatal and do not associate the war in Ukraine with the crime of Putin and the elite. "They see it as an inevitable thing, when generation after generation has to suffer totally, losing husbands, sons and brothers," he said.