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Russia has no ‘ready answer’ to Ukraine gains | Conflict Zone ctm magazine

Will Putin pose more of a threat to the West if he wins — or if he loses?

Conflict Zone asked Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who spoke to Tim Sebastian from Moscow.

On Kyiv’s military gains, Kolesnikov said it was possible that the Kremlin’s response could be escalation – a “natural answer … given their thinking is very militarized and very aggressive.”

“[But] at the same time, they must find words for different groups of the population, because there are a lot of hopes among people who are supporting Putin, supporting the war.”

“But the total indifference of the population saves right now Putin’s problem,” he went on to say.

Watch the interview and let us know what you think below, or join us on Twitter —

Conflict Zone is Deutsche Welle’s top political interview. Every week, our hosts Tim Sebastian and Sarah Kelly are face to face with global decision-makers, seeking straight answers to straight questions, putting the spotlight on controversial issues and calling the powerful to account.

00:00 Introduction

02:10 What are the chances of escalation by the Kremlin?

05:49 How serious for Putin are calls for him to resign?

09:23 Is full-scale mobilization coming in Russia?

12:20 Does Kolesnikov feel personally under threat?

13:41 “My country is not equal to Putin’s country”

16:06 “He’s whitewashing the Stalinist time”

20:10 “Russia is split”

22:24 “This nation must recreate itself”

24:49 Will Putin pose more of a threat to the West if he wins or if he loses?


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  • John Somebody on September 20, 2022

    Just amazing how selective governments can be, when they criticise or take action, against other government bastards.
    And then when they're criticisised for double standards, the critics get accused of, "whataboutery".
    That gives them permission to carry on with their support for approved of terrorists.
    So why is that ?
    Maybe the solution involves us not being ruled over.

  • OrangeApple on September 20, 2022

    One sentence proves how ethical the interviewer is – "My country is not equal to Putin's country"

  • Ict Breeze on September 20, 2022

    Putin is just amother reflection of a trait within the Russian popuation throuout history – between apathy and admiration of a strong. Stalin was called father btw. If there is a tipping point and civilian population is only caring for material wellbeing – how can human valor survive this. A voice is never as strong as massive complacency of a population. So this is my question in the open field: does any people deserve any dictator according to their ethical and moral standards or are they just victims of vicious conmans with certain mental issues who cannot refrain from repetetive accumulation of might and power…

  • Indrid_Cold on September 20, 2022

    All of this information is correct, which leads me to the conclusion that Russia is soon going to employ tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine. Remember, nuclear weapons are not just weapons of mass destruction. They are weapons of mass terror! A couple of AIR-burst nuclear weapons exploded over a concentration of troops and civilians will completely TERRORIZE the Ukrainians. And HOW exactly does president Zelinsky reply to such an attack? There is, of course, no comparable weapons of counterattack in his arsenal. He CAN ASK NATO and the US for direct military help. However, don't most military strategists agree that this is essentially asking them to risk expanding a nuclear war to their own nations? How exactly do you think that will go over with Americans and Europeans after videos of horrendously burned Ukrainian corpses hits the internet. Imagine seeing YouTube videos of people so badly burned, you can't tell the difference between the front and back of their heads. How about kids screaming in agony and terror, because their eyes boiled and burst from the heat flash. Or imagine pictures of pregnant women whose swollen abdomens now look like a burned marshmallow. And because the weapons are airburst (as most tactical nuclear weapons are in order to maximize the blast effect), there will be virtually zero fallout that might otherwise prevent Russian soldiers from quickly occupying the land so attacked (or provoking a NATO response because of unfavorable winds). Remember, the US dropped just TWO atomic bombs in the ten to twenty kiloton range on Japan, and a few days later the entire nation layed down its arms and UNCONDITIONALLY surrendered. For all of these reasons, I beleive that Vladdy Poontang intends to launch a nuclear terror attack in the very near future. It's the only course of action that has any chance of turning the tide of the war in his favor.

  • east_coast_ceo on September 20, 2022

    When will Putin announce the Russian Military is Surrendering?

  • Steve Euphrates-river on September 20, 2022

    A really thoughtful guy… stay safe!

  • Albert Einstein on September 20, 2022

    Putin is a lunatic

  • Matthew Ortiz on September 20, 2022

    turn putin over to Ukraine for war a act of good faith…

  • Jann Lee on September 20, 2022

    Putin is done!
    If they are doing well WHY do they have to recruit from prison???

  • jjjs on September 20, 2022

    Are we to expect that Putin throws ANOTHER 100,000 men into the conflict when it's been said that an estimated 100,000 Russia men have been killed and injured. ? Madness.

  • Neil Palmer on September 20, 2022


  • larrousse yves on September 20, 2022

    And then there's the real world.

  • MrAvant123 on September 20, 2022

    Even if Ukraine cant win back the country outright, there is the case of the 50,000 Russian casualties and vast losses of war materiel and vehicles, and the realization by those in the Kremlin that are capable of free thought that Putin embarked on an insane costly and pointless war for no reason other than a simmering obsession in his own mind. Also, although Russia hasnt been shelled and bombed, the Russian people will have to face economic isolation and hatred by the western world for a generation.

  • Gheorghe Falcaru on September 20, 2022


  • K A on September 20, 2022

    If Koleshnikov get shot by that little toy tsar I take toast for him after sauna.

  • bansraj mattai on September 20, 2022

    Dream onI

  • G F on September 20, 2022

    the only thing working for Putin is his botox…yes even this will be analysed in post Russia flop

  • helmuth haass on September 20, 2022

    Discontent will grow. It will snowball and get bigger.
    This will come to the attention of ordinary soldiers and will not assist to boost morale.
    Russia cannot really win in Ukraine with soldiers who are not sufficiently motivated.
    The army is losing the 'will to win' whilst at the same time Russian authorities are busy with 'Potemkinising' the home front.
    This stark contrast will eventually run into a sobering 'brick wall' and the population will no longer be prepared to tow the line.
    Vladimir Vladimirovich and his cronies have reason to become increasingly concerned.
    Whatever people sow, somewhere along the line, will be revisited on them and the present scenario is potentially turning into MAYHEM.

  • MEGAFACIL  on September 20, 2022

    If the russian good people dont do anything really, he is absolutely right, the country is gonna end no where than a nothing history. The past is gone , never you return , not matter what you can do , live goodwill in the present and prepare yourself for the future.

  • The Burnhams on September 20, 2022

    For an understanding of how Russia acts, historically, search Czechoslovakian uprising "Prague Spring 1956" Words are unequal to the task…..

  • The Burnhams on September 20, 2022

    Please watch "Mr. Jones" (2019) for a dramatic view of Stalin's "Holodomor" which was a man made famine in Ukraine caused by his (Stalin's) theft of Ukrainian grain: "Stalin's Gold."

  • River Stone on September 20, 2022

    Putler is losing more than just the war against Ukraine, he seems to be losing his face 🤣 Putler appears to be morphing into a Gollum like creature, I think he's allergic to all that botox. Slava Ukraini 🇺🇦 🙏 🇺🇦 🙏

  • Eric on September 20, 2022

    Putin and the Russian military insist the west is it's enemy. As Russia's enemy we cry for the suffering of Ukraine and it's innocent civilians and we marvel at our self proclaimed enemy as it decimates itself before our very eyes without us even firing a shot. Oh if all of our enemies would be as accommodating. The guest is a wise man and has my respect. I hope he remains safe during the ongoing "special military operation."

  • Paul Routh on September 20, 2022

    Andrei Kolesnikov is a brave scholar. He looks tired, I can understand why.

  • Paolo Veedor on September 20, 2022

    death by denefestration

  • Eric Needle on September 20, 2022

    Why is Russia so chained to tyranny?

  • Francis McClaughry on September 20, 2022


  • Francis McClaughry on September 20, 2022


  • john zuijdveld on September 20, 2022

    Seems to me that he has a very clear grasp on the situation in Russia, of the politics and the ppl. It's a pity that the ordinary ppl. and most of the elite class in Russia may never have heard or known anything of him.

  • Francis McClaughry on September 20, 2022


  • Elijah Hacks on September 20, 2022

    8000 square kilometers out 120,000 square kilometers is a minor percentage. This is considered ballooning the facts!

  • Mary Mary on September 20, 2022

    Rusiei recomand sa se lase de pierderi ;sa se apuce de manele;o alta recomandare o fac in italia;au astea dansuri tradizionale popolare..

  • Margarita Romanenko on September 20, 2022

    Thanks for this talk! I'd like to add to Andrey Kolesnikov's words about a hybrid civil war in the today's Russia. Actually, this civil war is within Russian families, working places and all kinds of communities. People in Russia keep losing their friends, communicating with their relatives, neighbors etc. And that's all due to the bitter differences among them in their attitude towards the war.

  • Sajjad Mrd on September 20, 2022

    Best president of the world Viladi Mir Putin Russia

  • Sajjad Mrd on September 20, 2022

    Russia is power ful Cuntrey

  • Grumpy0wl on September 20, 2022

    Excellent interview with lots of insights as usual.

  • M L on September 20, 2022

    Stalin 2.0 doesn't need support in the conventional sense as long as the secret police are loyal to him. Stalin 1.0 was never overthrown. It is unlikely Stalin 2.0 will be overthrown.

  • Dominic Londesborough on September 20, 2022

    Here in the UK we've had very little real news coverage this week, because the populist media is obsessed with every little detail of the Queen's death and mourning ceremonies and funeral arrangements. DW News is a great way to get insights into what is happening in Russia and Ukraine.

  • Coach King on September 20, 2022

    DW Rothschilds friendly News.

  • Jerry Huculiak on September 20, 2022

    Just now Ukraine has found more Russian atrocities during their pullout. This alone has put more fire into the hearts of the Ukrainians who will destroy more Russian troops immediately when confronted. The Kremlin wants Putin then they can die with him. Slava Ukraine!

  • Edmund Donnelly on September 20, 2022

    What´s your next move, Mr. Chessmaster? 😅

  • Kiton on September 20, 2022

    thank you from Ukraine

  • Alistair Melhuish on September 20, 2022

    BRILLIANT interview. Wow.

  • Adam Mitchell on September 20, 2022

    Glory to Ukraine!

  • Robert Scott on September 20, 2022

    Putin thinks himself a Czar?! 😂 The megalomaniac is exposed flaccid in front of the whole world.

  • Z J on September 20, 2022

    A lazy woman is worse than a dead man.

  • Gustavo Iglesias on September 20, 2022

    Great interview. Very brave speaker. Speaking in Russia is not easy. Regards from Montevideo, URUGUAY.