Monday, August 17, 2015

Putin Alienating Kremlin Elites with His Nuclear Blackmail Threats, Borovoy Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 17 – Many have suggested that many in Vladimir Putin’s entourage are upset with him because his policies have sparked Western sanctions that have reduced their wealth or freedom of movement. But Konstantin Borovoy says that Putin’s incautious use of nuclear threats is also alienating around him who fear what such threats could lead to.

            In a comment to Kyiv’s Apostrophe portal, the Russian opposition figure says that the Kremlin’s statement that it does not see a basis for continuing talks with the US on nuclear disarmament is part and parcel of “the classical behavior of an outlaw state for whom the next step is a complete rupture of  diplomatic relations” (

            Such a demonstration of “schizophrenia in the Kremlin,” one that is approaching “the clinical,” Borovoy argues, frightens those with the elite who still have a modicum of good sense because it signals that there is very little Moscow might do and that the actions of the foreign ministry are simply another part of the Kremlin’s “propaganda machine.”

            Those within the elite may be more likely to desert him over this than even over economic sanctions, Borovoy suggests, because everyone can now see that the Putin regime is behaving according to the following “inadequate” logic: “Because we do not like your reaction to the downing of the Boeing, we will no longer feel bound by the non-proliferation treaty and provide nuclear arms to those who want them.”

            Such a declaration, the Russian opposition figure says, is “in violation of all international agreements.” Moreover, he argues, “the despair in which Putin finds himself suggests that such inadequate actions will be carried out.”  That in turn will force the international community to conclude that one of its members “has gone mad.”

            In Yeltsin’s time, Moscow worked with the West to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But now “Putin and his entourage have already gone beyond the limits of the terms and technologies of the cold war. What is happening now can be described as the open preparation for the conduct of World War III.”

            Khrushchev tried to put missiles in Cuba but he was blocked. And more recently North Korea has engaged in similar nuclear “blackmail,” as did on occasion Iraq and Iran. “But until now, not one nuclear power seriously permitted itself to behave as an outlaw state.”

            “There is a first time for everything,” Borovoy says. “Now, for the first time a country which aspires in a certain way aspires to leadership in international affairs and the status of a super power is beginning to conduct itself like an outlaw state.”

            That certainly concerns many in Moscow; it should concern the rest of the world as well.

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