A group of think tanks gathered together and analyzed possible scenarios for the development of the situation in Russia. About 15 contingencies were drawn up, which fall into three main groups.
Group 1: a consolidation of power, which will end in the continuation of the war — either immediately, or after a couple of years of Russia having regained strength, or after a whole generation (at best).
Group 2: chaos and civil war of all against all. This is a threatening scenario not only for Ukraine (because of nuclear weapons and refugees), but also for Europe, and especially the United States, as it would allow the whole of Russia to then fall like an easy trophy into the hands of China, which is already getting too strong.
The decolonization of Russia is possible and desirable
Group 3 (scenarios which are unlikely, but worth examining): the peaceful reconstruction of the imperial space. If the empire of the USSR peacefully disintegrated in 1991, and its parts continued their lives as different independent countries, then this process simply has to be repeated. Here I would like to emphasize the most important thing: the fate of Russia, its territories, and peoples is the business of the peoples who currently live on the territory of the empire. After all, you and I are not imperialists. We will not capture anyone and impose our will. We will not allow a dying dragon to bite us and turn us into a dragon instead. We do not defend democracy and freedom to become a small copy of Russia, an unfree authoritarian country with imperial inclinations.
According to the previous official Russian census (not the one that was conducted a couple of years ago, where data on national composition remains classified), whose data is still available on the Internet, 22% of the inhabitants of Russia are not ethnic Russians. But experts say that this number could be twice as high, because we know how people can put themselves down as ethnic Russians. By the way, Ukrainians should have a certain empathy for all these peoples, because we were the same as them for hundreds of years — oppressed, Russified, with a murdered culture, with money drained at the expense of our resources, and forced to be mobilized for imperial wars of aggression.
Therefore, the decolonization of Russia is possible and desirable.
What can Ukrainians do here?
The first practical thing: Everyone can believe that the Russian empire can and must fall apart. Not to repeat narratives about the "ditch with crocodiles," about"let them all kill each other there," or about how we "must kill all 140 million" (this is physically impossible and it would be the biggest humanitarian disaster in the history of mankind), but to understand: the only path to the long-term security of Ukraine, Europe, and the whole world (at least until the end of the century), is the decolonization of the empire and the reconstruction of the post-imperial space. This means that there will be many new independent states. I am sure that the vast majority of them will be great friends of Ukraine, or if not great, at least reliable trade partners.
The second practical thing: The Ukrainian state must formulate an official position on this matter. This position has not yet been formed, because it concerns the future, and the state is now forced to deal with the present (we need weapons, support, and money). But we still need to draw this picture of the future, because until we have a picture of the post-war world order, the war cannot end. It will continue until the moment until there is a common picture of the post-war world order among Ukraine and its allies.
Third: We must convince our allies that the safest path for all of us is the peaceful reconstruction of the post-imperial space. No one is interested in the continuation of the war, as it is exhausting not only the Ukrainian, but also the world economy. It is creating huge electoral problems for all politicians around the world, so the war must be ended as soon as possible. And for this, it is necessary to give Ukraine the necessary resources, first and foremost military ones. End the war quickly to end the empire, create a new normal order on its territory, and begin to restore everything that has been destroyed. This is a better option than dragging out the war for who knows how long, counting on who knows what.
And finally: Stop believing in "good Russians." After all, they are now occupying European capitals, European discourse in the media, universities, and political structures, telling everyone that "Putin will die and the next day democracy will be established in Russia." This is not to be.