Staunton, August 10 – The Kremlin “simply doesn’t know” how to react to the personal sanctions the new US law imposes, not only because they put an end to a key feature of the Putin system but also because the attacks the measure calls for against the most corrupt leaders in Russia echo or even have the support of the Russian people, Andrey Piontkovsky says.
As a result, it is increasingly obvious that “the noose is tightening around the neck” of the Putin system and that it faces one of four “inglorious ends,” the Russian analyst says. These include “an attempt at hybrid capitulation with Putin at the head,” “an attempt at hybrid escalation with Putin at the head,” an attempt of hybrid capitulation without Putin,” and “capitulation” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=598AEFD434D75).
The Putin regime’s dilemma, one of its own making because of its overreaching aggression and efforts to influence the outcome of the US elections, has arisen, Piontkovsky says, because it “is not in a position to respond to the law on sanctions in any serious way.” It thus will have to wait as members of the Putin elite are exposed for the criminals they are.
The Kremlin has no model of behavior to fall back on, he continues, because “there was nothing like this in the years of the cold war” and because the personal provisions of the new sanctions legislation fall not only on Russia as a whole but more critically on individual members of the Putin elite.
While the Kremlin will do all it can to distract the attention of Russians from this reality, Piontkovsky says that he is “absolutely certain that this hunt for the wolves will enjoy the sympathy and gratitude of the multi-national Russian people” who have suffered as well by the actions of this elite.
In the immediate term, he argues, this may lead to a further deterioration of relations between Moscow and the West; but over time, it points to the ultimate defeat of Putinism and Putin’s Russia in “the fourth world war” which the Kremlin leader was incautious enough to launch because he failed to understand the world in which he was operating.
There now isn’t going to be “any Yalta-2” about which so much ink was spilled earlier. Instead, Russian elites, fearful of their own survival now that they are being cut off from the wealth they’ve stashed in the West, will choose between two variants or in fact four: hybrid capitulation or hybrid escalation, and in each case with Putin or without him.