Dan Perry: If Ukraine gains more territory than it had pre-war, it may be the end of Putin

Sursa: Cristina Kormilițîna / Kommersant

President Vladimir Putin faces a wave of unpopularity at home with a partial mobilization of troops to fight his war in Ukraine. But if Ukraine manages to claw back territory that it didn’t have before Russia invaded in February, then the Russian leader may be finished, Dan Perry says.

The international journalist and analyst, who is managing partner on the US-based global communications advisory Thunder11, talked about the latest developments in the seven-month war, suggesting it would be more effective for the West to pressurize India and China to stop backing Russia than merely place a new raft of sanctions on Russia.

Authoritarian leaders

He also warned about what can happen when countries vote for leaders with authoritarian tendencies, however popular they might be at the time.

Here are some excerpts from the Sept. 28 interview with i24 News:

„It is nothing short of an astounding failure in the field that (Putin) can go and mobilize 300,000 people and probably more,”   Mr. Perry said of the partial call-up of troops. „What a disgrace and yet he can do it.”

„Despite the dissatisfactions and the signs of rebellion that we can see, (Putin) is not that afraid. He’s more afraid of losing the war. And what constitutes a loss in this war is probably is not Ukraine taking over all the territories. In a time of war, everyone sounds maximalist. Realistically, Ukraine gave up on Crimea eight years ago.”


„IF Ukraine ending up with more than it had before February, that would be a tremendous disgrace for Putin and possibly unsurvivable.”

Putin has been able to continue the war because he has the support of India and China and has been selling them energy, he said.

„(But) both of them have started to noticed that the world economy is being harmed in ways that are not convenient to them.”

„If the US and West can get them somehow to truly pressure Putin, that may be more effective than further sanctions coming from the West which clearly do not achieve the desired purpose.”

Sham referendums

Of course the West is going to reject the sham referendums and reject the narrative that an attack on these areas by Ukraine to recapture them is an attack on Russia, he said.

„(The West) will send Ukraine weapons and ratchet up the sanctions. It’s a bit sad that there are still sanctions left to be applied. It shows how meager the first bunch were,” he noted wryly.

„What he is doing is just breathtaking. It really is a lesson to people all around the world. Putin is_ was_genuinely popular.  At this point, I don’t know… In the provinces he is popular because they don’t get any information.”

KGB operative

„Putin was legitimately elected with huge majorities, even though people knew his instincts were authoritarian… that he’s a KGB operative masquerading as a president. There is a lesson for people who are tempted to vote for such people, ” he told viewers.

„Voting for a regime that is not in favor of liberal democracy, that doesn’t care about protecting the minority can  come back like a boomerang against the majority. „

Perry also criticized  Russia’s neighbors, such as  Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and Finland, who closed their borders to Russians fleeing conscription.


„It was a shocking error (of Russia’s neighbors) to close the borders, disgraceful and inhuman and its should be undone immediately and there should be pressure on these countries.”

Even if the West has put on a more or less united front and Putin is in a weaker position than he was before the invasion, he still made some shrewd calculations, Mr. Perry said.


„What happens behind the scenes is a different question. The West has difficult choices to make. One way in which Putin has not miscalculated is that he understands the West will not actually fight for Ukraine…. and he’s going to exploit it to the end. He is also going to exploit the fact that he can weather a lot of unpopularity at home.”

Dan Perry is managing partner on the US-based global communications advisory Thunder11. He served as the Middle East chief of the Associated Press news agency, based in Cairo, and previously led AP in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. During the Second Intifada Dan was AP’s bureau chief in Jerusalem and also served as the chairman of the Foreign Press Association. He has been a regular delegate at the World Economic Forum in Davos and other leadership conferences.
He hails from a Jewish Romanian family that moved to the United States and was Romania correspondent for AP in the years after the 1989 revolution. Follow him on Twitter @perry_dan.

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