Former oligarch and political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky said there are three regions where Russia can start a full-blown war – Ukraine, the Baltic states or in the Middle East.
“Continuing the land forces operation in Ukraine is the most likely scenario. Something in the Baltic states where provocations, pressure and accusations continue. Or thirdly, the Middle East, which is always a back-up,” Khodorkovsky told Russian media outlet Sobesednik in an interview.
“The reason is that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is currently unpredictable, irrational and can hardly handle himself. He lives in another reality – not in an economic or political reality, but in a religious world. He believes he is a post-US world conqueror. If he feels he has no other options to stay in power other than war, then war becomes likely,” he said.
Khodorkovsky said Russia exists in 15-16-year cycles. “In my opinion, Putin's cycle may end at the end of 2015,” adding that this may not mean he steps down from power. He said Putin may go on to win the 2018 presidential elections and then step down a year later.
He said the longer Putin stays in power the bigger the threat that Russia splits up, as problems keep mounting and older problems are left unsolved.
Editor: J.M. Laats