Russian President Vladimir Putin has long been acting like a bit of a trapped rat, squirming and scurrying and making a great deal of fuss as his fate becomes ever clearer to him.
He’s stuck in an unwinnable war in Ukraine, as his forces continue to fail and falter, prompting mass mutinies and surrenders all along the way.
Now, after months of complete and utter failure, the Russian army has gotten itself into a “checkmate” of sorts, and it could push Putin into unthinkable action.
His army is at the point of no return where he loses if it attacks and if it retreats, said Igor Strelkov, a former FSB colonel and ex-defence minister of self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic in Russian-occupied Ukraine.
Just how bad is it?
‘Intelligent people have come to the conclusion that, in the current situation, Russia is in a complete Zugzwang,’ he said, in reference to a chess dilemma in which a player is put at a disadvantage because of their obligation to move.
The word is German for ‘compulsion to move’. ‘It is impossible to keep on defending because it quickly worsens [our] strategic position,’ Strelkov said. ‘And it is impossible to attack, since this is fraught with a quick military catastrophe.’
This “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” quagmire could push Putin into an ever more dire and desperate state of mind, which is worrisome considering just how often he’s relied on nuclear threats to keep the rest of the international community from interfering in Ukraine.