È la domanda che  Judy Dempsey rivolge a otto esperti di politica internazionale:  Neil Buckley, Joerg Forbrig,  Andrei Kolesnikov, Gianni Riotta, Paul Saunders, James Sherr, Susan Stewart, Paul Stronski.

Il commento di Gianni Riotta:

Russian President Vladimir Putin might not have to escalate, but he surely will. The Russian economy is lukewarm at best and will not heat up, oil is cheap, and China purrs—but Moscow is and will remain Beijing’s junior partner, a new status in history.

Dissidents in today’s Russia are even less influential than they were in the Soviet Union. Physicist Andrei Sakharov, poet Joseph Brodsky, and novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn won their Nobel prizes during the Cold War, but journalist Anna Politkovskaya, political activist Alexei Navalny, and liberal politician Boris Nemtsov are shunned to a few cantankerous op-eds, ignored by governments and institutions.

So Putin’s rule is safe, but he is riding an overloaded bike on a bumpy road. If he slows down, he’ll hit the concrete fast and painfully. Escalation is the only tool he has to keep his powerful but precarious balance. A very difficult exercise for the leader in the Kremlin, and a very dangerous sport for the world.