Saturday, September 24, 2016

Putin Now has as Much Power as Hitler Did after the Reichstag Fire, Kokh Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 24 – Vladimir Putin has as much power as Adolf Hitler did after the Reichstag fire, the result of Russia’s “step by step” passage through “all the stages of the development of a classic dictatorship, according to Alfred Kokh, a former Russian deputy prime minister in Yeltsin’s time and now a political commentator.

            In an essay in the German publication “Bild” yesterday, Kokh adds that “now, Putin with the aid of an unprecedentedly dirty and dishonest election campaign has obtained a completely controlled State Duma which is capable of changing the constitution and overriding a veto” (,view=conversionToLogin.bild.html).

                The ability of the Duma to “override” a Putin veto is not a defense against his further accretion of powers but rather a way for the Kremlin leader to acquire even more, the Russian commentator says. “The Duma can name Putin tsar even if the latter theatrically will refuse to accept that position.”

            Given that Putin now has “the same total power” that Hitler had after the Reichstag fire, Kokh says, one should expect “the adoption of laws in the spirit of the German law on extraordinary authority adopted on March 24, 1933.” It will be “easy” for Putin to find the pretext to do just that.

            In other comments, Kokh says that no one should trust Putin on Ukrainian or Syrian or any other issues.  The Kremlin leader has frequently made clear he understands “sovereignty” as meaning that he has to fulfill agreements only as long as they work to his benefit. Given that view, no accord with him is worth much.

            As far as the sanctions regime is concerned, he continues, it should be lifted “only when all the demands of international law are fulfilled” and not just when there is some compromise which leaves Putin in violation. That includes the Russian Anschluss of Crimea which Putin says is not negotiable.

            Moreover, he adds, sanctions against Moscow should not be ended until Russia ends its counter-sanctions program, something that would be difficult for Putin to do given that “major Russian monopoly concerns, which are controlled by people from his entourage would lose gigantic profits” that they now are making as a result.

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