Skip to main content

Russia begins to rattle

I have not been confident of the stability of Russia since the economic crisis broke with full force two years ago. The fact is that Putin has taken a leaf out of Russian history, by centralising power and then decreeing a policy of modernisation- little understanding that the twenty-first century version of modernisation demands decentralisation and flexibility. If Putin is no Stalin or Ivan the Terrible, neither is he the more enlightened despot he would prefer to model himself upon: Peter the Great.

The Russian Federation is so vast that its scale has historically terrified its leaders- repeatedly they have insisted that this territory traversing eleven time zones must nonetheless -quite literally- unwaveringly keep Moscow time. The slightest dissent has been taken as meaning that the huge space would fall into pieces. There is no confidence. The irony is that from the outside, Russia appears so powerful, aggressive and threatening.

Nevertheless, as I have written several times in this blog, the stability of the Putinistas can not be taken for granted. From Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, there have been growing demonstrations against the regime, with the latest and largest taking place yesterday in Kaliningrad. Despite an explicit ban and much harassment by the United Russia appointed governor of the Kaliningradskaya Oblast, several thousand turned up to demonstrate any way. Similar, smaller demonstrations are reported from Vladivostok, Irkutsk, and Archangel. Meanwhile in Moscow a large demonstration nearly brought the notorious Moscow city traffic to a standstill.

It is something of a surprise to see Kaliningrad becoming a focus for discontent: Lyudmilla Putina is from the City, and Vladimir Putin is a regular visitor- not to mention that large military presence that remains in the region. Nevertheless the increasing ease of travel for the residents of the region is enabling them to see the huge progress of their neighbours, Lithuania and Poland compared to the sluggish and backward Russian economy.

If the regime remains stable for the time being, this can not be taken for granted in the long term. As the snow finally begins to thaw after an exceptionally long and cold winter, we can watch the events unfolding in Russia with both hope and trepidation: the usual state of affairs for observers of the Russian scene.


Newmania said…

Popular posts from this blog

Cicero ReDux

By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut.
October 1st marked the half way point of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union.  Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is of passing interest at best.  Yet the conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become.
Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost anywhere else in Europe
It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies.  The real point is that Estonia refuses to be a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to conc…

Trump and Brexit are the Pearl Harbor and the Fall of Singapore in Russia's Hybrid war against the West.

In December 1941, Imperial Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor. After the subsequent declaration of war, within three days, the Japanese had sunk the British warships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, and the rapid Japanese attack led to the surrender of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941 and the fall of Singapore only two months after Pearl Harbor. These were the opening blows in the long war of the Pacific that cost over 30,000,000 lives and was only ended with the detonations above Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"History doesn't often repeat itself, but it rhymes" is an aphorism attributed to Mark Twain, and in a way it seems quite appropriate when we survey the current scene. 

In 1941, Imperial Japan, knowing its own weakness, chose a non-conventional form of war, the surprise attack. Since the end of his first Presidential term, Vladimir Putin, knowing Russia's weakness, has also chosen non-conventional ways to promote his domestic powe…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…