We can look at many things from different sides. The Russian analyst Dmitry Popov, for example, is jubilant that the war will cause the oligarchs and intellectuals who were mentally oriented towards the West anyway, and many of them spent a significant part of their time there, to leave Russia. They will be replaced by new elites, Popov hopes, including many who have been through the Ukrainian battlefield. Elites disciplined, combative, masculine.

It may be so, and it may also be that Russian society will be less elitist next time. On the Ukrainian battlefield, generals and soldiers are in the same trenches. I don’t know if this is good in terms of effective command (however, a lot of Russian officers die too), but it is certainly good for relations between social classes. But it can also turn out very differently. The dynamics of social development is complex, there are multiple scenarios every time. What if so many men fall that they upset the demographic balance? What if the war increases the influence and power of Chechen Islamic groups?

Migration from Ukraine also increases social divisions. Housing prices are rising and labour prices are falling.

For us, the more important question is how the Russian civil war will affect Western societies. The number of people who have passed through Ukraine as combatants is minimal, and most of them are professional mercenaries (on the Ukrainian side anyway). If they weren’t working for the Ukrainian government, they would be working for someone else. And when they end up in Ukraine, they’ll probably just move on to another conflict. So the nations belligerence won’t grow much. But will people start training, improving their fitness and getting weapons? Will militias spontaneously start forming? Maybe. But so far it seems to have only strengthened the position of the hustlers, informers and assorted scumbags. Migration from Ukraine also increases social divisions. Housing prices are rising and labour prices are falling.

At the same time, thousands of migrants are arriving from backgrounds with a radically different relationship to corruption (not that we were well off before). What processes in society will this set in motion? But no one is asking such questions. For the ruling class, the more important question is how to ensure that this does not come up for discussion.

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