The West could weaken Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by giving asylum to deserting Russian solders. News reports say 5,000 Russian soldiers staged a riot in Belgorod and refused to go to fight in Ukraine.
Such soldiers should be encouraged to desert to the West, rather than fight. The European Union and the United States should offer asylum and residence to deserting Russian soldiers unless they have KGB ties. If a lot of Russians desert, that will make it harder for Russia’s Putin to conquer Ukraine, whose troops are heavily outnumbered, but whose territory is so large (over 230,000 square miles) that it would be hard to occupy without a large Russian army.
The West could deplete Russia’s strength in other ways, such as siphoning off its scientists and high-tech workers. Economist Scott Lincicome says that “the United States could, with a stroke of a pen, totally destroy the capacity of Russia to compete militarily or economically with us by offering a green card to any Russian with a technical degree who wishes to emigrate to the United States.”
Giving asylum to Russians would not alter America’s political balance. Russian immigrants often vote for Republican candidates, and are not a Democratic vote bank.