Thursday, February 27, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Crimean Events Could Lead to Dissolution of Russia, Satarov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 27 – Any further destabilization of Crimea could easily become “the first step toward the rapid disintegration of Russia” and mean that Vladimir Putin will pass into history not as he imagines as the leader who put a stop to its disintegration but rather as “the terminator of Russia,”  according to Georgy Satarov.

            As picked up from his Facebook page by, Satarov who is the president of the INDEM Foundation, says today that it is not clear who is behind the current efforts to destabilize Crimea but that whoever it is by sowing the wind will reap a whirlwind in return (

            The Moscow analyst says that in his view there are “at a minimum, three equally plausible explanations.”  The first is that what is going on is part of Putin’s program to restore Russian domination over Ukraine or at least over a portion of it.  This may seem absurd, but it wouldn’t be a first for Putin, Satarov says.

            The second possibility is that what is happening is the work of “Russian force structures who do not agree with Putin.”  Such people could have various goals. One would be to promote Putin’s program but in ways he might be reluctant to follow. Another could be the playing out in foreign affairs of an internal political struggle that could isolate Russia and lead to a “criminal-police dictatorship” and “the overthrow” of the Russian president.

            And the third possible explanation, according to Satarov is that what is going on is the work of “local Crimean ‘hawks’ who want to put before the Russian authorities a fait accompli.” Their goal, he says, would be the establishment of an independent state “under the aegis of Russia” much like Abkhazia or South Osetia.

            But whatever the explanation for the current exacerbation of tensions, he argues, the real threat of the current evolution of events in Ukraine’s Crimea will be far broader and could lead to “the accelerated disintegration of Russia” and to the designation of Putin as “the terminator” rather than the savior of Russia and the Russian people.

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