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Leonid Bershidsky

Russia’s Opposition Has No Plan for Ending the War

The failure to offer a credible alternative to Vladimir Putin instead of theoretical visions of a better future just plays into his hands.

How do you get past him?

How do you get past him?

Photographer: Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

With the Ukrainian and Russian armies stuck in November mud without significant advances, retreats or mutually acceptable grounds for a negotiated resolution, Western hunger for some kind of a workable scenario is becoming palpable. Costly, destructive and fraught with political dangers far beyond Ukraine’s borders, the conflict cannot go on forever. Hence the recent reports that the US wants Ukraine to show at least an outward willingness to negotiate and that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has conducted private talks with Kremlin insiders. 

Officially, however, a Russian defeat remains the only way to end the war that’s acceptable both to Ukraine and the West. What’s left of the Russian political opposition is busy developing a vision for Russia following that defeat, in large part because it perceives a Western demand for such a vision.