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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Russia-Ukraine conflict: how does this end?

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine is first and foremost a human tragedy, but it is up to us to assess the global economic and market consequences and discuss the next steps.

In this rapidly changing environment, we have updated our overview of possible outcomes in tabular form.


It is important to reiterate that no scenario has a high probability, and that these scenarios are best used to establish a path to follow in navigating the crisis.

Here’s a quick rundown of the main scenarios:

Scenario: Putin is impeached

Probably the most positive scenario (for the world) in the long term, albeit in the short term, would be one in which Russian President Vladimir Putin is impeached.

Although the chances of this happening are probably higher than ever, we still see it as unlikely. It appears that Putin has already dispensed with many of the more moderate figures in his inner circle.

Furthermore, over the past decade, the Russian military has been further integrated into the Kremlin’s strategic decision-making.

Scenario: some kind of deal

If, as has been reported, Ukraine’s resistance remains stronger than expected, there is also the possibility that Putin will decide to loosen up, paving the way for a neutrality agreement or a de facto faction, which is discussed by the West and Ukraine. (but which they reluctantly accept).

Partitioning the country is the more likely of the two, but both scenarios present challenges. Russia has room to increase military pressure, and history suggests that Putin would be willing to deploy it if necessary.

Similarly, while another Minsk-style deal is also possible, Putin may not trust Ukraine to implement the terms satisfactorily, as it would give Russia veto rights over Ukrainian foreign policy through political control in Ukraine. the pro-Russian regions of the east.

Scenario: puppet government

This scenario is one in which Russia succeeds in overthrowing the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky and installing a puppet government in Kiev, similar to Russia’s “deal” with neighboring Belarus.

The result would likely be the appointment of key personnel in the Ukrainian military to establish law and order on behalf of the new pro-Russian regime. An occupation of many months may be necessary, although in the manager she believes that an indefinite occupation would be difficult to maintain given the costs that it would entail. Putin has also been reluctant to do so in the past.

There are, of course, challenges. For example, Putin is not guaranteed to be able to establish law and order with a time-limited occupation in a hostile environment, and he may be reluctant to keep Russian troops in Ukraine indefinitely.

Scenario: the conflict spreads to NATO

After all, the worst of the scenarios is the most negative one that ends up in the analysis that Putin has made with the fathers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

They continue to think that this risk is very low, since it would trigger a major war with the United States that Russia cannot win. It is assumed that Putin’s inner circle and his international allies such as China would see this as an unacceptable overreach.

However, as Putin has become increasingly risk-tolerant, emotionally, ideologically and radically, in abrdn they continue to think that it is a risk that cannot be ruled out.

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