President Putin often attempts to compare himself with previous iconic Russian figures such as Peter the Great and Ivan III. However, his year-long conflict in Ukraine has not successfully gained the desired territories, resulting in the sense of trepidation among the Russian people that he is driving the nation into a time of turmoil and inertia – or worse.

Those among the upper echelon posit that Putin needs a successful military feat to guarantee his place in power. “In Russia, loyalty does not exist,” declared a Russian tycoon who spoke to Washington Post anonymously. 

Beginning with a feeling of superiority and a desire to rearrange international relations, Putin launched a major incursion into Ukraine. Although the Russian leader encountered multiple military defeats, which hurt his standing internationally and brought brutality charges against his forces, he still increased his dictatorial control domestically. He has taken advantage of the war to drown out any opposition and construct an insular and suspicious society that is antagonistic to liberals, trendsetters, LGBTQ individuals, and chiefly, Western-style autonomy and democracy.

Putin’s backers are convinced he will come out on top in Ukraine due to Russia’s military might, nuclear capability, and the abundance of resources it possesses. Putin’s nationalists envision a nation that will be more powerful than Iran, led by Putin, and rejects the Western world.