Staunton, February 21 – If Vladimir Putin intended to deliver a clear and unambiguous message to Russians and the world with his speech to the Federal Assembly earlier this week, he failed utterly with Russians giving a thumbs’ down on the speech on Facebook and commentators offering almost as many interpretations as there are commentators.
That has led one of their number to suggest that the speech changes nothing and shows nothing will change, perhaps the most reasonable conclusion given that so often Putin has made promises that he has then not carried out (dw.com/ru/комментарий-ракета-циркон-и-новый-социализм-владимира-путина/a-47602001).
But to give some idea of the range of reflections on Putin’s latest communication with the world, below are the conclusions offered by seven different commentators:
· One suggested that Putin’s remarks shows he is trapped between moving toward populism and moving toward additional authoritarianism (politsovet.ru/61892-putin-mezhdu-kandelaki-i- surkovym.htm).
· A second said that his speech showed that he was moving from militarism toward national socialism given his focus on domestic affairs rather than foreign policy (sibreal.org/a/29781113.html).
· A third suggested that it showed Putin and those around him are frightened of their loss of influence and control on the population but have no clear idea as far as what they should do to recover (gordonua.com/blogs/liliya-shevcova/v-poslanii-putina-federalnomu-sobraniyu-my-uvideli-realnoe-bespokoystvo-vlasti-po-povodu-poteri-kontrolya-nad-nastroeniyami-mass-754316.html).
· A fourth said that Putin was acting as if he was in control behind the scenes even though it is unclear whether he remains so (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C6E4F3BC707B).
· A fifth said that the speech reflected the fact that Putin is increasingly cut off from reality and operates in a world of his own (charter97.org/ru/news/2019/2/21/324314/).
· A sixth described the speech as “Brezhnevism but with huma speech” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C6D69C6A3543).
· And a seventh suggested that Putin seems almost as tired of his role as the Russian people are tired of him (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C6E48052146E).
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