Our friend Adski1977 brought up a couple of days ago:
The Russians are in full war mode now, but at the start of the SMO they were more interested in scaring the Ukrainians into negotiations and concessions. It would seem that initially they wanted to settle it in a way where everyone would be happy, so they offered a reasonable deal for Ukraine and the West. There are many speculations as to why the Russians were so soft and generous in these initial phases. Alexander Mercouris speculates in his latest video that at that time Putin cared about optics and was worried about Russia's alliances, thinking that if Russia goes too hard it will alienate its partners.
But Jack Stoneson may also be onto something - maybe the Russians didn't want to rock the boat too much because they are not interested in destroying the world order, but more interested in being respected within it. So they wanted to push, but push gently. And by now they realize that pushing gently will not get them anywhere.
These are important points and hypotheses but they are wrong. The reason they are wrong is this blog which since 2014 was documenting non-stop Russia's "autarcization" and implementing import substitution whose ONLY purpose was to be independent of the West which, by default, implies if not explicitly states that Russia has zero illusions about West's intentions in a strategic framework. This decoupling, while manifesting itself differently in terms of intensity in the last 9 years, was relentless nonetheless.
But then again, let's go back to Putin's Munich Speech in 2007. The intent was there already, another matter, that what many people fail to recognize is that in a strategic planning one always considers those "decision trees" and nexuses which, in case of Russia-West relations, always spread across the whole spectrum of the outcomes from soft to very hard scenarios. The same was and is going on with SMO, which branches out to other nexuses, and Russia's adherence to a Landsraad parctice from Dune--the forms must be obeyed. Especially when one has escalation dominance across the board in Ukraine and elsewhere.
I speak about it today in my latest video and about the lost arms race by NATO.