We live in interesting times. No matter what happens on the battlefield Russia lost the war. In the unlikely event it could take over all of Ukraine it would still have lost the war. There’s a big difference between taking a country and holding it.
One of Russia’s main goals was to reduce the threat of NATO. Instead, NATO hasn’t been this strong in years. One of the big lessons of the Ukraine invasion is the importance of being in NATO. Finland is massing tractors on the border just in case.
So what happens to Russia after the peace is signed? One thing is that the staggering level of its loss of manpower will come out. Most of those dead soldiers come from the poorer parts of Russia. Like poor boys from rural Alabama the military is one of the few ways out. Just like always, it’s a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. There’s a lot of districts in Russia you’ve probably never heard of who are going to be upset with the outcome.
To add to the unrest the Russian economy is circling the drain. That’s not going to play well in the hinterland. Just to make it interesting, Russia will no longer be able to afford to enforce the peace the way they used to. Iron fists are expensive.
One thing to remember about Russia is that it’s an empire. There are the remnants of many different countries within the border. Many have their own institutions, languages, religions, and ethnic differences. In a few short year those former countries could very likely be countries again. It all boils down to how long they will tolerated sending their wealth and manpower to Moscow. It might not be all that long in the big scheme of things.
Geography is going to be a really really interesting subject.