By effectively taking control of Donbass Russia may protect the Russian population not already evacuated and thwart the US and Ukraine’s NATO backed Russophobic campaign.
The Great Gamble of course is whether the powerful US military issues Russia with a nuclear ultimatum to get out of Ukraine. And if Ukraine launches the 150,000 army it has on the Donbass borders, armed with the latest free gifts from NATO.
Then Russia would have to defend Donbass (or abandon a million Russians) causing a massacre of Ukrainian troops, causing a NATO intervention, causing a nuclear holocaust ……
The EU and US will no doubt install their already prepared massive economic sanctions, but Russia has resisted previous sanctions and right now is rolling in cash, with gas and oil prices still rising.
The sanctions were coming anyway, and could be a massive own goal if energy and other vital raw materials are cut off in reply.
The Donbass rebels lack Turkish Drones, Javelin missiles, Stingers, etc
The trouble with the chessboard analogy is that the aim of that game is to annihilate the enemy.. which could easily include you and me! And even if Russia does manage to force a Peace it will surely worsen rightwing chauvinism and repressive nationalism in Russia, to the detriment of any dissent and the over 100 ethnic minorities
The final logic of decadent predator Capitalism is total war. This combined with the curse of far right Statist nationalism in Europe has historically inspired hatred, repression and finally killing of ethnic and religious minorities, who happen to be stranded in the ‘wrong’ State.
After two world wars the recipe repeats itself, with the west advancing on Russia’s borders, colonizing and supporting the neo nazi movement in Ukraine. Nobody really knows why..
Russia cannot abandon its citizens in Donbass, and is obsessed with the memory of the last time the west attacked Russia in 1941, finally leaving over 20 million Russian and USSR people dead.
Putin’s Great Gamble is to step right into the trap and double dare the USA to attack. And to see if Russia can survive Savage Sanctions. Europe has let itself be dragged into the endless insane US and UK Crusade against Russia, which must now assert its borders and turn East, to China.