By Elvira Tamus, Research Assistant

On 15 May 2023, Dr. Donatas Kupciunas (Centre for Geopolitics) was joined by Dmytro Zolotukhin (Kyiv-Mohyla Academy), Dr. Toms Rostoks (National Defense Academy of Latvia, University of Latvia), and Dr. Sergey Utkin (University of Southern Denmark) for a webinar on ‘Should the West fear a Russian defeat in Ukraine?’.

Dmytro Zolotukhin argued against the proposition and suggested that the West should be thinking about, and working for, not only a Russian defeat but also its restructuring along the lines of true democratic federalism, if not confederalism. Only then Russian imperialism would be defeated, and sustainable peace be achieved.

In his reaction to Zolotukhin’s talk, Toms Rostoks stated that a stalemate would be bad for the Ukrainian economy and for Ukrainians who intend to move home. He also claimed that Putin’s regime needs permanent war to stay in power and reminded the attendees of the energy issues he expects for the next winter.

In his response, Sergey Utkin pointed out unpredictability as a natural feature of war and the need to keep different scenarios in mind. In addition, he argued that the use of nuclear weapons would be a new step in escalation and that a Russian defeat would not mean the end of the Russian state. Ultimately, in Utkin’s view, the future restructuring of Russia would be something for the Russians to decide for themselves.

The talks were followed by a lively discussion on questions regarding the federalisation of Russia; a three-sided dialogue between the West, Ukraine and Russia about exit strategies; and risks of further escalation.

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