A year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine

publishedabout 1 month ago
3 min read

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  3. Over time, you’ll get scores based on how accurate your forecasts are.

In this issue

  • Forecast: Will there be an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to end the war?

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How does the war in Ukraine end?

Here are three ways the war in Ukraine could end:

  • A negotiated settlement
  • Putin loses power
  • An escalation (including the use of nuclear weapons) leads to a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, presumably ending in Russian defeat

These scenarios are adapted from a recent Foreign Affairs essay by Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage and right now neither of the latter two options seems likely. And by definition, this list excludes the most likely outcome: that the war just doesn’t end for the foreseeable future.

This week, as we mark the grim one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Nonrival is asking how likely it is that Russia and Ukraine announce an end to the conflict in the near future.

Specifically, we’re using a variation on a question already posted on Good Judgment Open:

How likely is it that Russia and Ukraine sign or announce an agreement to end the current conflict in Ukraine by August 19, 2023?

(More details on what would count for resolving this question at the bottom of this email.)


“The success or failure of Kyiv’s war effort hinges on one unfortunate fact: Ukraine does not have the indigenous capacity to arm itself for this fight… Moscow is betting that time is on its side and it can grind Ukraine into dust. The key assumption in that bet is that Russia can outlast NATO commitment.” —Emily Harding, CSIS
“I don’t see a resolution at any point in the near future… What worries me the most… is that the expectations on both sides, it’s hard to retreat from them. The United States has said ‘We’re all in.’ NATO has said ‘We’re all in.’ Russia is certainly all in… So I’m kind of pessimistic about the outlook in the near term.” —Robert Papp on Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast
“How might this end? The conventional wisdom says 'negotiations,' of course… but that can be a surrender negotiation (which is not much of a negotiation), or a ceasefire arrangement (which merely creates an interlude until the next round of fighting) or a grand peace-fest like Vienna 1815. 'Negotiation,' in other words, covers a multitude of events. In this case, it is most likely that what will not happen is the kind of negotiation Milley and others have in mind—a genuine compromise that brings about peace. What is more likely is that one side or the other collapses in exhaustion, and that the result is a ceasefire for now, which is the predicate for another conflict. Conceivably, if the West continues to be dilatory in arming Ukraine, it could be Kyiv that crawls wearily to the table. But it is rather more likely the Russians will be the ones to do so, if (as laid out above) outside support is robust, the Ukrainians maintain their immense capacity to adapt and continue the fight, Russia sees collapses in its fighting force, and the West maintains a united front rejecting nuclear threats.” —Eliot Cohen, CSIS
“There are a few dynamics that make me think this could go on for a long time: this amazingly persistent uncertainty; these reputational dynamics; the fact that positions have hardened on both sides; the ideological and idealistic positions that both Ukrainians and Russians have taken. So I think continued fighting for the next year is quite likely. I think it’s possible they fight one another to a stalemate in that time, and then you get what’s a very common situation, which is sometimes called a frozen conflict. Which is to say that you’re not actively throwing bombs at one another, but there’s a sort of belligerent brinkmanship. Maybe the best example of that is Kashmir: no official peace agreement, no international recognition.” —Chris Blattman, University of Chicago


How likely is it that Russia and Ukraine sign or announce an agreement to end the current conflict in Ukraine by August 19, 2023?

​~10% chance​ ​​​​

​​​~30% chance​ ​​​​

​​​~50% chance​ ​​​

​​​​~70% chance​ ​​​​

​​​~90% chance​​​​

The fine print

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Deadline: Make a forecast by 9am ET Tues. Feb. 28.

Resolution criteria: Nonrival will follow Good Judgment Open's resolution decision. Here is their criteria for this question: "A signed or announced agreement must be acknowledged by both Russia and Ukraine to count. The Ukrainian government as recognized by the European Union must be party to the agreement to count. An armistice or a ceasefire of indefinite duration would count and must include the whole of the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine, including Donbas and Crimea. Time-limited agreements (e.g., 72-hour ceasefire) would not count. The date an agreement would take effect is immaterial."