Mr. Putin, evidently fuelled by fantasies of a reborn empire, appears to believe he has a special right to destabilize a sovereign nation based solely on his pursuit of nationalist glory. The world has been here before, but most western leaders understandably thought the horrific legacy of past conflicts European had finally put an end to such mad schemes. __ Putin’s Crazy Fantasies of Bloody Empire
Putin, unfortunately, looks more and more like a loose cannon, an irrational leader who responds to his own internal demons and not to anything resembling logic or national interest. __ Loose Cannon in the Kremlin
…[It is said that] Putin really is weighing the possibility of limited nuclear strikes—perhaps against one of the Baltic capitals, perhaps a Polish city—to prove that NATO is a hollow, meaningless entity that won’t dare strike back for fear of a greater catastrophe. Indeed, in military exercises in 2009 and 2013, the Russian army openly “practiced” a nuclear attack on Warsaw.
Is all of this nothing more than the raving of lunatics? Maybe. And maybe Putin is too weak to do any of this, and maybe it’s just scare tactics, and maybe his oligarchs will stop him. But Mein Kampf also seemed hysterical to Western and German audiences in 1933. Stalin’s orders to “liquidate” whole classes and social groups within the Soviet Union would have seemed equally insane to us at the time, if we had been able to hear them.
But Stalin kept to his word and carried out the threats, not because he was crazy but because he followed his own logic to its ultimate conclusions with such intense dedication—and because nobody stopped him. __ Anne Applebaum
It has come to be that people stop asking if [Putin] will overrun another country and now spend their time questioning which country [he] will invade. __ Alex VanNess
Does Putin have good intentions toward Russia? It doesn’t matter. The things he does spell the ultimate end of Russia as a going concern.
Putinism as a system of governance replicates, in its essence, the regime that failed to modernize the Soviet economy, failed to normalize Soviet society and ultimately failed to rescue the Soviet state from extinction. Besides, Putin’s concept of Russian security, like that of every Soviet leader from Stalin to Chernenko, has a perverse and potentially self-defeating feature: Russia won’t feel absolutely secure unless all its neighbors feel absolutely insecure. As a result, in the putative Putin era, Russia, once again, is a paranoid state that makes its own enemies. That same zero-sum strategy kept the USSR from being accepted by the international community as a trustworthy and constructive major power.
Speculation about the longevity of the system Putin has put in place should take account of the fate of the one he has, in fundamental ways, brought back to life: the Soviet system, and with it the Soviet state, lasted only seven decades — three score and 10 years, the biblical lifespan of a single mortal. Moreover, that system and state were not destroyed by foreign enemies like those Lt. Col. Putin hunted down in Dresden 30 years ago and those he still obsesses about from the Kremlin. Rather, it expired because of its own pathologies. It was unfit for survival in the modern world.
Putin is a human Rorschach blot that somehow reassures those who in reality should be very frightened indeed.
… [Putin] has much enjoyed The Third Empire, a fantasy about an imaginary Latin American historian from 2054, who recounts the exploits of Tsar Vladimir II, the in-gatherer of all Russian lands. ___ http://www.newsweek.com/2014/08/01/behind-scenes-putins-court-private-habits-latter-day-dictator-260640.html?piano_d=1
The longer Russia waits to eject its joke of a leader, the more surely it will become the world’s laughingstock.
Russia is too weak to challenge the West further, at least in the way that it did in Ukraine. Russia’s GDP is around $2 trillion [smaller than California’s], and its population of 143 million is falling fast. The United States and the European Union have a combined GDP of about $34 trillion and a population of 822 million, with the US population growing rapidly. This means that the West can inflict much more damage on Russia than Russia can inflict on the West.
Even in its heyday, the Soviet Union was a one-track superpower. With an economy about a quarter of the size of America’s, it was able to maintain rough military parity by spending four times as much of its national income on defense as the US did – to the detriment of the living standards of ordinary citizens.
Today the balance of power is even more unfavorable. Russia’s economy is weaker, and its armaments are rusty. It retains a formidable nuclear capacity, but it is inconceivable that Russia would use it to secure its aims in Ukraine.
So we are left with a looming endgame in which Putin can neither retain his spoils – Crimea and control of Russian-speaking parts of eastern Ukraine – nor back down. ___ http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/robert-skidelsky-asks-if-the-endgame-in-ukraine-will-also-mean-the-end-for-vladimir-putin
Putin thinks he can move the clock backward, like a corrupt Olympics timekeeper.
But Russia stands to lose a great deal.
Russians would be better off choosing a new leader, and moving away from the corrupt fascism of Putin.
Imagine if every pocket Napoleon were to style himself after Putin:
Putin is running a Mafia state, and is willing to destroy Russia to keep control of it:
Let’s give Putin a clear choice: Either he can continue subventing and enabling the bloodletting in eastern Ukraine, or we can expose the enormous global network of offshore bank accounts, dummy companies, and real estate holdings that belong to him and his criminal elite. A mafia state should be treated as such.
The risks of nuclear war grow ever larger as Putin moves farther from a rational mindset.
East European nations warned their Western neighbors that Russia would soon be up to its old bad habits again and these warnings were downplayed or ignored. Now everyone is a believer and intelligence experts with Russian language skills are in big demand. Many retired or fired Russian experts (the youngest of them in their 60s) are being sought and rehired if possible.
The Cold War isn’t over, it just took a time out. __ http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htintel/articles/20140626.aspx
And so NATO is forced to build bases right up against the Russian borders, to protect the sovereign nations of Eastern Europe.
Capital is fleeing at an annualized rate of $200 billion. Foreign direct investment fell by $50 billion this year, a vote of non-confidence in the economy. Consumer prices are soaring, along with interest rates. And the ruble has crashed to an all-time low.
Russian economists fear a harsher downturn than during the global economic crisis of 2009 when output plunged 8 per cent, and thousands of Muscovites rallied behind red banners under a statue of Karl Marx, calling for a return to Communism. There is real hardship ahead.
The end result of Russia’s bloody neo-imperialist genocide and ethnic cleansing will be an eventual ugly blowback onto Russia herself. Those who have been raped and wronged by Russia will watch as conditions inside Russia continue to decline. Others — such as China — are merely waiting their opportunity to take what can be salvaged from the ruins of a former Asian superpower.
This story describes the return of ethnic Russians back to Russia from Putin-devastated Eastern Ukraine, although that is not how the “journalists” in question describe the tragedy. 200,000 or so ethnic Russians were displaced from Ukraine by Putin’s war, and are attempting to find “shelter” inside Russia. In the long run, many more ethnic Russian civilians will find premature death as a result of Putin’s adventurism than will find a better life in an expanded Russian empire.
The end result of Hitler, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Alexander, etc. was a collapse of empire and ultimate loss of conquests — and more. Putin may have “learned” a great deal from vocal psychotics such as Alexandr Dugin, but he has not learned from history. He is attempting a great bluff with a very weak hand. Watch and see how his play turns out.