You are Russian, and you are in charge of containing and even reversing the very unfavorable trend Russia is suffering from because of the simultaneous dramatic fall in oil prices, significant weakening of the ruble against the US dollar, and western sanctions resulting from the war in Ukraine. The assessment is quite harsh. The situation of now latent low intensity conflict could turn into a highly lethal war. You don’t want that to happen, neither your adversaries, but your economy is collapsing and it will soon be a vital interest requirement that you stop the carnage.
First, you increase your gold reserves. Then you spread tension sporadically in Ukraine in separate weeks-long steps with a view to giving your theater of operations more coherence. Crimea is enshrined in the Russian Federation’s constitution, so you will never reconsider the issue. The situation in Syria and more generally in the Middle East seems more favorable to your interests. Your ally Bashar Al-Assad whose forced departure was announced three years ago is still Syria’s President. And now the difficulties are accumulating in situ, threatening the West inside and your country too. The ground of the Great Game is vast and many opportunities are available for you to combine tensions in Ukraine with complications in the Levant.
Oil price is rising anew. You reactivate your bilateral relations with North Korea (DPRK) as a little reminder to the United States that much more serious situations could emerge from some lack of attention to a growingly tense context in Asia. At a low marginal cost, you’re experienced enough to know that the impact of the circumstances on the “organs” you once headed is minimal. You might be able to regain initiative. And what would be better than extreme, sudden volatility on the financial markets to send your raw materials on the front of your economy’s revival?
This short forecast exercise by Cyceon assessed how Russia and its government could act given the current context. It is not an opinion, just a simple scenario.