Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sanctions Mean Putin Can’t Keep His Promises But Russians May Not Have Expected Him to

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 11 – The new US sanctions ensure that Vladimir Putin will  not be able to keep his March 1 promises about economic growth and an improved standard of living for the Russian people, Georgy Maksimov says; but the Kremlin leader may not pay any price because the population overwhelmingly didn’t expect him to in any event.

            In a FedPress commentary, Maksimov points out that the losses on the Russian exchange on just the first day after the new sanctions were imposed amounted to a sum equal to 0.8 percent of GDP, a figure that ensures there won’t be the level of growth Putin promised, according to economist Vlad Zhukovsky (

                Naturally, government officials offer “more optimistic predictions,” the FedPress writer says.  But even they caveat their projections by saying that the results will be achieved only if Russia attracts more outside investment, something that won’t in fact happen if the sanctions regime is maintained.

            “This means that Putin’s opponents within the country will have yet another good example to ‘rock the boat’ and solemnly declare that Putin has not been able to fulfill his promises even in his last presidential term,” political analyst Abbas Gallyamov says. “With time this will weaken Putin’s position.”

            But – and this is the important thing, the analyst says – “one must remember that on the whole people in Russia have become accustomed to the idea that the authorities will not keep their promises and therefore their being exposed in this will not become a sensation. Rather it is something that must be repeated again and again before it will sink in.

            Blogger Yakov Mirkin agrees, pointing out that except in the first crisis year – 2008 – more than 80 percent of the Rusisan population has said it is completely satisfied or more satisfied than not with its standard of living (

            These figures “in a surprising way correspond with the 85 to 90 percent of the population which is in love with the state and wants it to occupy a larger role, in property, administration, and in concern for the small of this world.  And only ten to 15 percent are prepared to live on their own independent of it,” Mirkin says.

            The figures show that there isn’t going to be a demand for change from below as long as “hunger and cold don’t come.  We in a remarkable way are building a vertical and under its power, while experiencing a feeling of great satisfaction” not because of ourselves but because of the power of the state.

            In this of course, the blogger concludes, “we are deeply mistaken,” something everyone will learn when life as it sometimes happens leads to an explosion when everyone is simply trying to make sure that nothing changes at all.

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