Staunton, July 23 – Europe will do everything it can to avoid taking a hard line against Vladimir Putin even after the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner lest that lead to a break with Russia and in a remarkably short time, the governments and publics in the West will forget about this crime, Vladimir Bukovsky says.
But that is not the end of Putin’s problems, the former Soviet dissident says. He faces a monster of his own creation: the hotheads who shout “’Crimea is Ours!’” and who shot down the plane. They may become the agents of the ouster of Putin and even the demise of the Russian Federation.
Bukovsky, who now lives in London, says that he doesn’t expect the West to impose more serious sanctions. On the one hand, Western countries would suffer as a result. And on the other hand, as Saddam Husseyn demonstrated, a country put under sanctions can “easily” work around them. Moreover, no sanctions regime lasts forever.
In this circumstance, he told Ukraine’s Gordonua.com news agency, Ukrainians must fight, counting only on themselves. And they should have begun fighting much earlier. Had they fought in Crimea, they would not be facing the problems in Donetsk. Only Ukrainians really recognize how dangerous the Russian aggression is.
Asked why young Russians who have travelled abroad and have access to alternative sources of information nonetheless support Putin’s campaign, Bukovsky says that it is still not clear “whether they really believe or are only appearing to do so.” Given that “fear has returned to Russia,” the latter is likely.
And even if some of them do support Putin, that support is unlikely to last very long, he argues. Just like people in the West, many Russians will focus on other things soon enough. There are exceptions, however, and they may set the weather for the coming months. Those exceptions are the radical hotheads in Ukraine and in Russia itself.
As conditions in Russia deteriorate, Bukovsky continues, as the economic crisis deepens and some portions of Russian territory even begin “to separate themselves” from Moscow, including regions like the Russian Far East which could “become an independent republic,” such people will only become more enraged and more willing to take radical steps.
It is unfortunate, the former Soviet-era dissident says, that “the building of ‘the Russian empire’ will collapse on the heads of ordinary citizens, but the Putin regime will fall – and not in the least because it unleashed war in Ukraine.” That mistake “has accelerated everything.” Now, neither Putin nor Russia has more than “a few years left.”