Staunton, April 25 – Vladimir Putin’s statement yesterday that one must look around all the time so that “no one will eat us” shows, Russian commentator Igor Eidman says, that the Kremlin leader’s paranoia is “progressing,” an especially dangerous situation when the individual involved is head of a nuclear power.
Putin said that it is always useful to look at what takes place in nature, Eidman continues, because it is clear that “he considers tha the entire world lives according to the laws of the jungle and that there are enemies all around seeking to each you. Therefore, one must always “’strike first’” (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1463269857069322&id=100001589654713).
The Russian commentator focuses on the foreign policy consequences of this paranoia, but there are domestic ones as well. They include not only the postulation of and search for an increasing number of enemies but also the inability to take in the big picture rather than be driven by one’s presuppositions and prejudices.
Thus, in yet another instance of his increasingly populist stance on immigration, Putin is calling for restrictions on it so that the interests of Russians won’t be harmed (nazaccent.ru/content/23873-putin-prizval-zashitit-interesy-rossiyan-pri.html). But he is doing so even as the number of gastarbeiters is continuing to fall rapidly (migrant.ferghana.ru/newslaw /в-россии-уменьшается-число-легальных.html).
One reason for his doing so is the widespread xenophobia of Russians about Central Asians, a xenophobia he has promoted; but another and perhaps more important one is that Putin, like most Russian rulers, is myopic and worries about what he sees in Moscow rather than what is taking place elsewhere.
According to new statistics, something over half of all Central Asian and Caucasian gastarbeiters are ending up in the Russian capital where they form a sizeable percentage of the population, while elsewhere fewer than half do and where the form a much smaller share (nazaccent.ru/content/23867-migrantov-predlozhili-ravnomerno-raspredelit-po-strane.html).