The Prefered Post-Putin Era Plan for both Russia and the United States
The geopolitical landscape is ever-evolving, and the Western-aligned nations are undeniably preparing for potential leadership changes in Russia, especially in a post-Putin scenario.
They are keenly analyzing which factions within Moscow and the Russian elite might align with Western interests and determining the best diplomatic responses should there be a change in leadership.
Historically, Russia’s engagement with democratic norms has been tumultuous. The democratic transition during the Yeltsin era was brief, giving way to the ascendancy of Putin. His leadership style, reminiscent of Mafioso and strongman tactics, presents challenges for Russia and global diplomacy, challenges in a post-Putin era, we’d all like to see be removed.
While the Politburo era of the Soviet Union was marked by stability and predictability, it would be a misstep to advocate for a return to such an autocratic system; a more collaborative governance model, possibly inspired by the cabinet or politburo system, might offer Russia the balance it needs in a post-Putin era.
It’s imperative that any future Russian leadership be receptive to the West, embodying a Western-oriented vision and demeanor.
In fostering a collaborative relationship with any successor to Putin, the West could:
- Minimize Negative “Treaty of Versailles” Type Impacts on Russia and its new Pro-Western Leadership: The West should attribute the Ukraine invasion to past leadership rather than blame Russia as a nation – the “blame the dead guy” strategy.
- Promote Peace in Ukraine: Russia commits to a complete ceasefire and total withdrawal of all its military presence from Ukraine, including Crimea.
- Post Withdrawal, Remove Ukraine-Invasion Inspired Sanctions on Russia: The West could reciprocate by lifting the sanctions imposed in the wake of Russia’s annexation.
Russia could also show some goodwill by giving up some of its key intelligence assets in the United States and the West, which have been working assiduously on Putin’s behalf, specifically those assets tasked with sowing domestic strife and heightening racial and political divisions.
For the West, the priorities are evident. A leadership in Russia that emphasizes economic rejuvenation and mending Western relations is essential. Otherwise, the specter of prolonged tensions, especially in eastern Ukraine, looms large. This scenario sees a persistent Russian leadership intent on reviving the influence of the Soviet era, overlooking the historical fact of the Soviet Union’s downfall.
A vital component of this renewed partnership could be drafting a post-Cold War Treaty.
Such a treaty would definitively signal the end of the Cold War era, delineating post-Cold War borders and addressing unresolved matters that typically follow the cessation of hostilities. If there was such a post-Cold War treaty, then perhaps Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could have been prevented.