Vladimir Putin's Monday announcement came as a surprise for everyone. But the move (the pullout is already underway) is logical if considered from a strategic viewpoint.
Arnaud Dubien, who heads Observatory, a French-Russian analytical center, maintains that Russia's decision to pull out the forces was "primarily political," rather than an economic one. "In the five months of engagement Moscow made political gains that it could hope for," he noted.
Indeed, the economy could not have been the decisive factor behind the troops' withdrawal.
Putin placed the cost of the campaign in Syria at approximately $460 million. Such expenditures are "quite manageable for a large country like Russia," Director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan Pukhov asserted. This cost is sustainable even in a troubled economic environment, he added.
The French financial daily detailed some of Putin's achievements made possible by Russia leading a multinational coalition aimed at tackling Daesh and other terrorist groups, who are trying to ruin Syria. These include ending Russia's isolation, which the West tried to impose on Moscow following the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis.
Moscow, according to Les Échos, has also managed to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from being overthrown in a Western-planned scenario similar to the one that took place in Libya. In addition, Russian forces have also degraded Daesh.
As a result, Russia is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in Syria's peace process. At the moment, "Vladimir Putin looks like the key person, who is capable of reaching a political compromise" in Syria, the media outlet observed.