Staunton, December 25 — Vladimir Putin views Russia not as an end in itself but rather as a means to create a new world order, a view that means he is quite prepared to sacrifice the well-being of Russians in the pursuit of his vision of a new Yalta, according to Moscow commentator Andrey Illarionov.
For the Kremlin leader, Russia itself ranks no more than second in his hierarchy of values; and thus, “it is not important [to him] what happens inside the country” but only how the country’s resources can be deployed for his geopolitical goals.
Unfortunately for Putin and his plans, Illarionov continues, this resource is ever smaller: The Russian economy now ranks eighth or ninth in the world and is getting smaller. Its demographic resources are contracting, and its “scientific-technical resources” are declining as well.
Indeed, the only resource that is growing is Russia’s military, and consequently, that is the one Putin is relying upon, the Moscow economist says.
It is far from clear whether with such limited resources, Putin has any hope of achieving the establishment of a new world order of “the Yalta-2 type,” one in which Moscow would have equal weight with “the largest power of the world today, the United States” in making decisions about all issues.
But Putin believes it is possible, and he is ready to sacrifice “everything else – Russia, the economy, society, and people” – to that end. Indeed, for the Kremlin leader, these are all “petty questions” that he will ignore in pursuit of “a certain parity, a certain appearance of parity” on some issues with the United States.