Recently, many have been asking: What is Putin afraid of? This is an important question because fear can be a powerful motivator for aggressive and unpredicted behavior.
One of the reasons Putin is afraid is his alienation from the West. Putin has long sought recognition and respect from Western leaders, but since annexing Crimea in 2014, he has faced harsh sanctions and isolation. Putin sees the West as an enemy that is trying to weaken and destroy Russia by supporting democratic movements in the former Soviet republics and expanding NATO to Russia’s borders. Putin also accuses the West of instigating a revolution in Ukraine in 2014 that toppled pro-Russian President Yanukovych and sparked conflict in the country’s east.
Another reason why Putin is afraid is his lack of confidence in his domestic position. Putin has ruled Russia for more than 20 years, but his popularity is declining due to economic problems, corruption, a pandemic and repression. Putin is facing growing discontent and protests from the opposition, which he is trying to quell with arrests, bans and violence. Putin is particularly wary of Alexei Navalny, a charismatic opposition leader who survived nerve agent poisoning and continues to criticize Putin from under house arrest. Putin also knows that he cannot rule forever and that he needs to ensure his safety and immunity after leaving office.
The third reason Putin is afraid is his ambition to be a great leader and restore Russia’s role as a superpower. Putin believes that Russia should have a sphere of influence in the post-Soviet space and protect its interests in the world. Putin also wants to be respected and heard on the international stage, especially on security and stabilization issues. Putin seeks to demonstrate his strength and resolve through military intervention, cyberattacks and disinformation. Putin also wants to leave his mark on history as the one who rallied the nation and restored its pride.
These three reasons explain what Putin is afraid of, but do not justify his actions. Putin violates international law and threatens peace and security. Putin is undermining democracy and human rights in Russia, Ukraine and creating a world where respect for international laws are weakening. Putin is risking conflict with the West or even nuclear war. Putin needs dialogue and cooperation with the West, not confrontation and isolation. Putin must understand that true strength does not lie in fear, but in respect.
SOURCE: Inputs from various News Agencies