Putin’s Plan A: Long game, squeeze Ukraine, force deep federation, formalize Russian influence & primacy in SE
Plan B: Invade
I find it worrying that Putin is suspending food imports from parts of the West. (Note that the text of the ban may be deliberately ambiguous.) Commentators are criticizing the economics of such a move, but I think of this more in terms of Bayesian inference. Long-term elasticities are greater than short. Under the more pessimistic reading of the action, Putin is signaling to the Russian economy that it needs to get used to some fairly serious conditions of siege, and food is of course the most important of all commodities. Why initiate such a move now if you are expecting decades of peace and harmony? Or is Putin instead trying to signal to the outside world that he is signaling “siege” to his own economy? Then it may all just be part of a larger bluff. In any case, Eastern Europeans do not take food supply for granted.