Staunton, VA, January 30, 2016 — The Putin regime “has made so many mistakes that even if oil prices rise and sanctions are lifted, the crisis will not end, according to Vladislav Inozemtsev. Instead, the director of the Moscow Center for Research on Post-Industrial Society says, the current recession will continue because the Kremlin isn’t focusing on the economy.
And in an interview given to Deutsche Welle that has been picked up by a number of Russian outlets, he predicts that this situation will not change earlier than 2024. As a result, the magic bullets that Putin supporters often point to will not keep the economy from contracting three to four percent a year over that period.
Moscow’s response to the current crisis stands in marked contrast to its reaction to the events of 2008. Then, Inozemtsev says, “the authorities understood that economics is important, and the reaction of the Russian government was much more active,” including the formation of a broad anti-crisis program.
“Now,” however, “the situation is much worse,” he continues, not so much because of international sanctions but rather because of “the inadequate actions of the Russian government” which has failed to focus on economic issues and “pursues exclusively geopolitical or its own domestic political goals.” It isn’t interested in economic questions.
“Of course,” he acknowledges, the collapse in oil prices has inflicted serious harm on the Russian situation “possibly more than Western sanctions. But in 2008-2009, oil also fell in price. But then the state demonstrated its openness to the return of investors and a desire to restore relations with the West.”
Staunton, VA, January 30, 2016 — Like a dose of polonium, the “moral idiotism” of Vladimir Putin has succeeded in infecting all of Russia with a pathology it won’t be able to escape even after his departure and has already “transformed his regime and himself personally into the number-one problem for the entire world,” according to Igor Yakovenko.
And also like polonium, the Moscow commentator argues, Putin’s moral idiotism, his “total indifference to good and evil,” does not kill all at once as cyanide does but develops in such a way that “at first, those surrounding it do not suppose that the infected individual is condemned.”
“The poisoning of Russia by Putinism initially passed unnoticed both within the country and among foreign observers,” he says. “First the nervous system, the independent media was destroyed. Then the immune mechanisms of democracy were destroyed … And then a general paralysis occurred” of the country which continued to function only because of high oil prices.
The world didn’t react to the first symptoms when in 2008 “Russia attacked Georgia and seized part of its territory.” Then six years later, it “committed an even more serious international crime: for the first time in post-war history, [Russia] annexed foreign territory” and then “began an aggressive war against Ukraine.”
On Putin’s head rest a growing number of political murders, Yakovenko says; “but having given the order to Lugovoy and Kovtun to point their former colleague Litvinenko with radioactive plutonium, Putin committed a crime after which the world around him began to change.” Indeed, it is likely even Putin “understands this.”
Immediately after the London High Court’s release of its conclusions, the Kremlin announced that Putin wouldn’t be going to the security meeting in Munich in mid-February. The Russian president knows that as long as he is chief of state, the chances of his being arrested there are “equal to zero.”
“But to the extent that Putin doesn’t give any value to law, he is certain that everyone else shares that position. Besides, he cannot fail to understand that after he was declared a nuclear terrorist by the London court, the ‘velvet’ isolation around his person which existed before January 21, 2016, is extremely likely to be replaced by something much more serious.”
Ever more media outlets in the West are demanding that Putin be held accountable for his nuclear terrorism, and it seems impossible to believe that “world leaders will be able to completely ignore such clearly-articulated public opinion,” Yakovenko says. And they will be under more pressure to do so in the coming weeks.
The International Criminal Court is likely to find equally “unambiguously” that Putin was behind the shooting down of the Malaysian aircraft, an action that cost 298 lives. And one can hope that “Ukraine will be able to organize suits against Russia for the theft of Crimea and the rape of the Donbass.”
“True,” Yakovenko adds, “considering that of all the leaders of the West only two have balls — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Lithuanian President Dalia Gribauskaite — one can’t hope that the process of isolating the largest and most dangerous international criminal and nuclear terrorist, Vladimir Putin, will occur quickly and decisively.”
What is important, he continues, is that “each politician in the world who after January 21 risks entering into contact with Putin be asked” about Putin’s involvement in nuclear terrorism and about how making contact with him reduces the risks that he will engage in more such actions against others in the future.
“Such questions must be given as well to those American politicians who like Trump assert that he is sure to get along with Putin and to those European politicians who consider it necessary to immediately lift sanctions on the Putin regime and to those Israeli politicians who call for reorienting Israel toward an alliance with Putin’s Russia.”
“Gentlemen, do you have a reliable means of protection against polonium? If so, then you can boldly enter into relations with Mr. Putin. Only don’t forget to take with you as well” other kinds of protection like those on the Malaysian jetliner didn’t have, or that Boris Nemtsov didn’t have available to him, either.
For such criminal activities are an integral part of the Putin regime with which you intend to cooperate.” In addition, there are people like Ramzan Kadyrov who threaten the Russian opposition, and the Russian militants in eastern Ukraine who continue to terrorize that country as well.
Such questions should also be addressed to “the numerous sympathizers of Putin in American and European universities, because Putinism like polonium has poisoned not only Russia but left its poisonous traces in all countries of the world.” Faced with this, “the complete international isolation of Putin is the first step to rid the planet of the threat of Putinism.”
The second and much more difficult step is the de-Putinization of Russia.” Foreigners have a role to play by isolating Putin and thus “destroying the main Putin myth that under him, Russia has again begun to be respected in the world and that with Putin Russia has returned to the club of the world powers.”
And the reverse is true as well, Yakovenko says: “Obama by extending his hand to Putin is doing for the support of the Putin regime in Russia no less than Ramzan Kadyrov and Dmitry Kiselyov.” If the West sent a different signal, Russians would be encouraged to oppose Putin and the results in the upcoming Duma elections would represent a step forward.
At present, the Moscow commentator says, “many analysts are frightened that the regime which will come in place of the Putin one will be even worse. It is possible that that will be the case. But in order that this not happen, there must be cooperation between the healthy forces inside Russia and the wise ones in the world, above all in the West.”
“The West and above all the US must offer Russia something analogous to the Marshal Plan,” Yakovenko concludes. “This is in the interests of the West itself” because it will be far cheaper to help make Russia “a normal country” than to “have on one-eighth of the earth’s surface [an enemy] with an enormous nuclear arsenal.”
Moreover, it is prompting discussions about whether Germany needs to expand Russian-language media for its Russian speakers in order to ensure that they are not mobilized against Berlin by Moscow and to fears that “pro-Putin activity among the Russian Germans will not disappear” but must be countered in one way or another.