November 30th, 2015
In the near future, the Kremlin will be forced to focus on five areas of conflict, which are evident from the explicit and indirect threats to the Russian state.
Turkey as a new element of instability
Increased activity from Turkey, with the support of the US and the EU, could put Russia in a difficult position. Northern Syria may be subject to attacks not only from militants but also from Turkish government forces. Previously, Ankara announced its intention to support the Syrian Turkmen who live in that area. After the incident with the downed Russian jet, Turkey may behave more aggressively. As a member of NATO, it has received support from the EU. Enticed with the promise of membership in the future, in exchange for the containment of immigrants, Erdogan will have more latitude. The conflict with Russia is also beneficial to Erdogan, as it diverts attention away from internal problems and scandals.
The escalation of the conflict in Syria can be used by Ukraine to intensify military operations in the Donbass. The situation in the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics has been quite tense as of late. We can not exclude the coordination of action on two fronts at the same time, through Washington. Since the Minsk Agreement cease-fire, any response from Lugansk and Donetsk Republics, and Russia’s support, will be used by the west to favor Kiev.
Russia’s previous actions to block internal agents of the West were quite successful. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was adjudicated and a number of western accounts and revenue streams in Russia have been closed. The Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation recognized that the foreign “Open Society” and “Support” foundations are not desirable on Russian territory any longer. Nevertheless, events show that the West is using every opportunity to escalate social conflict in the country. So, the discontent truck drivers who disagree with the new tax, have already led into a coalition of disgruntled drivers with the political opposition that is artificially fueled by the western media.
The sixth column
The actions of officials and decision-makers may also adversely affect the consolidation of efforts of the Russian leadership. Liberals in the government, and advisers, can offer various forms of “exchange” with the West, which provides – one way or another – for the change of Russia’s position. For example, the rejection of Russia’s interests in Ukraine and Donbass in exchange for recognition of Moscow’s role in the fight against ISIS. Or, for example, the promise of lifting sanctions under certain conditions from Washington. Obviously, any demands from the West will lead to the further weakening of the role of Russia in the international stage, and reduce the prestige and power of the country. Therefore, the activities of the emissaries of the West, embodied in the sixth column, will meet resistance from the block of military and security agencies (the “siloviki”) around Vladimir Putin.
The threat of homegrown terrorism
At the same time, cells of the terrorist underground in the North Caucasus, the Volga region, and major cities of Russia may be activated. Although attempts to carry out attacks occur regularly, and in most cases are stopped by Russian law enforcement agencies, under more difficult conditions when resources are dispersed and attention is given to other issues, there is a risk that some attacks may take place.
It is obvious that the West is seeking to synchronize all these attacks on Russia for maximum effect.