With Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has attempted to paint himself in a God complex. Comparing himself to Peter the Great, a well-known imperialist, he has tried to convince the non-western world that he will bring “multipolarity” back. Despite using faux pretenses to invade Ukraine, the Russian autocrat has directed much of his warring rhetoric toward Western governments the most.
To bring the multipolar world in order to upend long-standing American hegemony, the Russian President has attempted to form a coalition of countries that are willing to combat the West. These ambitions have been minuscule to say the least, as the people he thought were allies have not supported his war the way he thought it would go.
During the early stages of the war, Putin attempted to convince CTSO member states such as Kazakhstan and Belarus to formally send troops and join in on the invasion. As Russian media paints the war as Moscow’s coalition versus NATO, this was a call to action towards their allies to intervene.
President Tokayev of Kazakhstan, who was backed by Moscow to crush internal dissidence has become one of the Kremlin’s biggest critics thus far. Refusing to send troops to help Russia and humiliating him in front of the Saint Petersburg economic forum, Tokayev is starting to look to China and Turkey as its future economic and security partners, putting Almaty and Moscow in foreseeable odds. Likewise, other Central Asian nations under Russia’s sphere have not lifted a finger to help during the war.
Despite recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the faux referendums, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has not militarily supported Russia. Quite the opposite has taken place, as Russia has become extremely weakened to where they’ve gradually withdrawn its top officers from Syria to Ukraine and air defense systems Assad needs against his rivals of Turkey and Israel.
Original reports of Syrian volunteers being sent to Ukraine last spring fell flat, as Damascus would need the manpower even more than ever as the Turkish military has threatened a renewed military operation if peace talks fall through. If Putin’s regime falls, Assad would be one of the first to feel the effects of it.
Once dependent on Russia for its security due to being geographically sandwiched in between hostile nations and isolated from the west, Yerevan’s relations with Moscow hit an all-time low. Ever since the Velvet Revolution that replaced the pro-Russian ruling parties with a more western friendly one, the Kremlin has barely lifted a finger when Armenia needed it the most.
The past three years have seen a heavily Turkish-backed Azerbaijan in a near everlasting conflict with Armenia. Even when the country activated CTSO articles, Russia has not responded. This has caused the country to gradually look elsewhere with calls and protests to expel Russian forces from the nation for an EU-led multinational peacekeeping one.
India and Russia have had a close knit relation for hundreds of years, but New Delhi has not provided military support for Ukraine, but rather has taken advantage of discounted oil. Usually siding with Russia as they’ve been a historical counterbalance to China’s incursions on India’s borders, Putin’s military endeavor has weakened his state to where it is now a client of Russia.
With Beijing gaining influence in Moscow, this puts New Delhi in a precarious situation. India’s PM Modi stated “now is not an era for war” signaling their displeasure in conflict despite abstaining on multiple UN Resolutions.
Usurping Russia in economic progression and growing its military past Moscow’s might, Putin has relied on monetary assistance from the CCP to keep his economy afloat in the war. China has not supported Moscow militarily in the war thus far.
Signaling the disappointment of potential use of nuclear weapons by Russia, China has quietly backed away from support. Currently having a demographic crisis, economic decline and future standoff over Taiwan, China has refused to recognize any annexations and will focus on quelling their own internal problems.
Serbia and Russia have had a close relationship, as the Russian Empire helped Serbia gain its independence from the Ottomans, but in the 21st century, these relations are at a crossroads. Though many Serbian citizens support Russia, especially the far right and more religiously orthodox, the Serbian government has recently been at odds with the Kremlin.
The Wagner Group has heavily recruited in Serbia, giving a negative perception of the country the government has been fed up with. PM Vucic recently demanded the Wagner mercenaries leave Serbia and the government has sent generators to Ukraine. They have refused to recognize Russia’s annexations as it affects the fate of Kosovo, which Belgrade is still interested in governing again one day.
One of the biggest rogue regimes today, Iran has been one of the biggest supporters of military technology to Russia today, sending the Shahed drones and potentially ballistic missiles. Though this seems like support, Iran has refused to recognize Russia’s annexations and stated they will not anytime in the future.
Dealing with various separatist movements, Iran is in no position to recognize illegal land grabs. Their military support is primarily to combat test their weaponry towards a conventional army as a potential war with Israel and the U.S looms.
The hermit kingdom of North Korea has backed the faux proxy states of Donbas and has quietly sent shells to help Russia’s stagnant war effort. As the country remains isolated from the international community with one of the worst economies on earth, their support means little in the conflict.
Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator of Belarus has been privy to Russian military operations throughout its invasion. Allowing the Kremlin to use his country as a launching pad, tens of thousands of RF poured into Ukraine through Belarusian borders. Despite the logistical support, Lukashenko has been wary of formally intervening.
Knowing the possibility of a civilian uprising or military mutiny if Belarus formally joins the war, as Lukashenko is highly unpopular among his own people, the autocrat has attempted to buy himself time with the Kremlin. Under pressure of intervening, he has instead placated his bases for the Russian military to launch missile attacks in Ukraine. If Putin’s regime falls, Lukashenko knows he would be the next domino in the house of cards to fall.
What Happens Next for Putin In Ukraine?
Putin’s grandeur of personal ego and the support he envisioned has gone the complete opposite of what he expected. Now afraid to stop the war, due to circling himself with hardliners that could move in on him, the multipolar world order the faux Tsar wanted has become nothing more than a coalition of the unwilling.
Author Expertise and Experience
Julian McBride is a forensic anthropologist and independent journalist born in New York. He reports and documents the plight of people around the world who are affected by conflicts, rogue geopolitics, and war, and also tells the stories of war victims whose voices are never heard. Julian is the founder and director of the Reflections of War Initiative (ROW), an anthropological NGO which aims to tell the stories of the victims of war through art therapy. As a former Marine, he uses this technique not only to help heal PTSD but also to share people’s stories through art, which conveys “the message of the brutality of war better than most news organizations.”