26 September 2011
The Guardian published an article by its former Moscow correspondent Luke Harding, recently expelled from Moscow by Putin’s terrorist gang FSB, about the impending death of Russia.
The article is called “Vladimir Putin’s comeback spells gloom for Russia and the west”.
The article has a subtitle “There is no prospect now of any UK-Russian thaw, and Russia itself faces a long period of political and economic stagnation”.
The British journalist pointed out that even in 2010 US diplomats had concluded that Project Medvedev was hopeless. One expert describe Russia’s ruling model not as a tandem but as “a bicycle with a child’s seat in the front”.
“Spare a thought for poor Dmitry Medvedev. It was US diplomats who cruelly dubbed him Robin, to Vladimir Putin’s Batman”, writes Luke Harding.
“The phrase stuck. Over the past four years Medvedev has done nothing to dispel the impression that he is anything other than a useful seatwarmer”, the article says.
It wasn’t always like this. At the start of Medvedev’s presidential term there were faint hopes that he might preside over a partial liberalisation of Russian society. The Obama administration tried to reach out to Medvedev in the hope this would nudge Russia’s foreign policy away from its hawkish Putin vector towards a more constructive approach. By 2010, however, US diplomats had concluded that “Project Medvedev was hopeless”, the article says. One expert describe Russia’s ruling model not as a tandem but as “a bicycle with a child’s seat in the front”.
Medvedev’s announcement on Saturday that he was stepping down to allow Putin a third presidency came as a surprise to no one, then, indicates Harding. Medvedev’s only significant act as president was to extend Russia’s presidential term from four years to six, he said. “This was seen, rightly, as teeing up the conditions for a triumphant comeback during elections in the spring of 2012: Putin’s”.
Putin’s return means the west faces another decade of difficult relations with Russia. The former KGB agent demonstrated his gift at G8 gatherings and other international get-togethers for sardonic repartee mixed with snide remarks about western hypocrisy and double-dealing. We can expect more of this.
Until Downing Street caves in to the Kremlin’s demand that it resumes co-operation with Russia’s FSB spy agency – suspended after Alexander Litvinenko’s polonium murder – no “reset” is possible with Britain.
“The prospects for Russia itself are equally gloomy. The country now faces a long period of political and economic stagnation and single-party rule”, the author thinks.
In theory Putin could go on until 2024. However, the blogger and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny predicted that “Russia’s kleptocractic system would collapse well before that”, because it was useless even for the corrupt people who benefit from it. According to Navalny Russian revolution was inevitable, and the Caucasus will spark it.
“Many observers have plausibly argued that Putin is tired of being leader. So why did he come back?”, asks the journalist.
Harding points out that the presidency, of course, is more prestigious that then prime minister’s office, and gives Putin an international platform. “More than this, though, it allows Putin to protect his own alleged secret assets and those of his team, US diplomats believe”.
And it allows him to avoid potential law enforcement prosecution – “inevitable, once he steps down from power”, reminds the British journalist.
Department of Monitoring
Source: Kavkaz Center.