- Coronavirus changed Putin's plans pertaining to the referendum.
- Ukraine is not relevant to the West at this time.
- Kremlin will use this time to further its agenda with Ukraine.
- Belarus is on dangerous trajectory with Russia at this time.
Coronavirus continues to the major issue facing the world, with Spain reopening its economy and China as well. However, China is reporting new cases of so called reinfection, but claims the virus has been reimported. At this time there are claims of three types of coronavirus roaring around the globe. The numbers of infected is close to 2 million with over 100,000 deaths reported.
US governors are forming task force groups to figure out the best plan to eventually reopen for business. The US other global economies can not sustain long term closures without going into recession and consequently reaching hyperinflation from the large volume of funds injected into the economy via stimulus packages.
The Kremlin could not push through the referendum farce pertaining to the Russian constitution amendments proposed by President Vladimir Putin in January 2020. Coronavirus roared around the world and reached Russia. Putin’s agenda of staying in power indefinitely is postponed. The reported numbers of infected by the Russian media is close to 20,000 with a death toll close to 1,500 across the Russian Federation.
It is possible that Putin will be done on the government level and may possibly avoid the farce of an actual referendum. Perhaps it would be done quietly, while everyone else is busy with the coronavirus pandemic. Could it be due to Putin’s oversight of not proposing changes last year. Did he wait too long?
Nevertheless, Russia continues forging ahead with military re-equipment. The scheduled delivery of the S-500 and Su-57 will be on time. The S-500 Prometey, also known as 55R6M “Triumfator-M,” is a Russian surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system intended to replace the A-135 missile system currently in use, and supplement the S-400.
Russia has been showing the world how prepared the country is, and even sending its military teams to Italy to help with the coronavirus crisis. Italy has been one of the hardest hit nations in Europe due to COVID-19. It is plausible Russia had a head start, as at this time Russia and China continue to be aligned on many levels. Therefore, the conversations between the Kremlin and the Xi Jinping team could have contained more details giving the Russians certain advantages. Unfortunately, US Donald Trump continued downplaying the virus until it became a huge issue within the country.
Russia and the Saudis also came to an agreement about capping oil production, but the Russian economy did not sustain any substantial hits during the “Russian-Saudi oil war games” that took place for a certain period of time this year.
It is highly likely the Kremlin will sort out Belarus, where that country’s leader Alexander Lukashenko has been playing the West against Russia using the same playbook as Erdogan in Turkey. The only difference is that Belarus is not strategically as attractive for NATO or even the West. In one scenario, Lukashenko agrees to have one border and financial system with Russia, on other hand he is inviting the Western allies to the nation and to entice them to deal with Belarus. With coronavirus continuing to be a major issue around the world, and also the hit the economies are taking, no one can afford another Ukraine scenario with Russia. Also, due to the rise in protectionist views yet again within EU, Belarus will be out of luck. It is highly likely Lukashenko will have to retire in the near future, since he has been ruling leader of Belarus for a few decades now.
Ukraine might be forced to improve its relationship with Russia since the US is too busy with its own economic problems due to coronavirus. There is also a presidential election coming up in the fall in the US. At this time Ukraine’s problems with Russia are not important to the US. The current president of Ukraine is not much of a leader and Ukraine has been forgotten, unless it is being used as partisan mud slinging against Joe Biden, who is a presidential candidate running on the democratic ticket this fall. Russia may attempt to intensify military activity in the Donbas. Supporting Ukraine now is expensive and toxic. The message of the American ambassadors at this time is that Ukraine is not a priority.
In fact, we are seeing a struggle for the re-division of the world into four major players and alliances: The US, the EU, China and Russia. These are the major front runners. China can be crippled with heavy sanctions and mandatory enforcement of debt payment due to coronavirus-related economic problems. China should be held responsible for what happened, including XI, and his government charged with crimes against humanity, due to their misreporting the number of infected and failing to properly contain the virus in time.
The European Union may face a challenge. This will most likely be the demarche of an area whose political circles closely coordinate their policy with the United States.
It is highly likely Russia will exert an even bigger influence in Venezuela. Russia already owns part of Venezuela. Since the US unsealed indictments against Venezuelan officials, the Russian Rosneft Corporation sold their entire interest in Venezuelan oil to the Russian government. Other Russian companies with any interests in Venezuelan are expected to do the same. Therefore, Russian President Vladimir Putin owns part of Venezuela.
It is clear the Kremlin will take opportunities to push its agenda while the world is busy dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath.