Sunday, October 13, 2019

No ‘Thaw’ is Possible in Putin Regime, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 9 – Every time something positive happens, Aleksandr Yakovenko says, be it the release of one prisoner or a lesser sentence than expected, some analysts rush to proclaim that finally there is “a Putin thaw.”  But such a development under the current Kremlin leader, the analyst says, is precluded by two things (

            On the one hand, Yakovenko says, there is “Putin’s ‘birth trauma,’” his sense that “’the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century’ occurred after Gorbachev’s thaw.” Because he has no wish to repeat that, he may dangle slight improvements occasionally to curry favor in the West or keep his domestic opponents off balance, but he won’t allow a thoroughgoing thaw.

            And on the other hand, he says, the only people interested in a thaw are “the entire population of the country” -- except for those who benefit from Putin’s repression including special service officers who make a career on this, deputies who escape responsibility for failures by blaming outsiders, and information warriors who need conflict to justify their own existences.

            What this means, Yakovenko says, is that “the chances for ‘a thaw’ will appear only after the Putin regime is demolished,” and even then only if the Russian people and those in and near the regime prevent those likely to take power from continuing his hard line to defend their own positions.

            The Russian analyst says this is obvious if one looks at what some offer as evidence of a thaw, small actions that are exceptions that prove the rule, and considers that apparent concessions are only partial and that “the situation in the regions is much worse than it is in the capital” from which all the examples of a supposed “’thaw’” are typically drawn.

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