Staunton, October 16 – Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin leadership more generally has taken such a short-term approach in dealing with problems that it is ever more frequently falling into traps that could have been avoided but that in fact the regime unwittingly set for itself, Rosbalt commentator Sergey Shelin says.
He suggests that the number of these traps is very large but in a new article discusses five of them (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2020/10/16/1868514.html):
First of all, because Putin earlier declared victory over the pandemic, he hasn’t been able to admit his mistake or focus on what to do now that it has returned in force. Those who work with the victims see this mistake but so far the Kremlin hasn’t had the strength of character or even good political sense to do so (vtimes.io/news/sistema-zdravoohraneniya-ne-gotova-ko-vtoroj-volne-kovida).
Second, Putin said the economy was roaring back and announced a program based on that claim, but now that the economy has slowed or even gone into reverse, he has proved incapable of altering his approach, something that will waste even more money that the country doesn’t have and may make the situation worse.
Third, Putin has always sought to be the chief arbiter in the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute but for 20 years, he has proposed no solution to it, assuming it can go on as it is with no outside involvement possible. But now Turkey has entered the fray, something that is “dangerous for Armenia and humiliating for Russia.”
Fourth, the Kremlin remains trapped in the idea of union with Belarus even though it would be better to led Lukashenka fail and a new regime come to power without the kind of Russian involvement that means whatever happens in Belarus will have a major and unwelcome, at least for the powers that be, consequence in Russia itself.
And fifth, Putin and his regime have miscalculated on the Navalny poisoning. Europe has responded with symbolic sanctions but with a new tone, one that has prompted Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to petulantly threaten to end talks with the Europeans, a completely undignified and counterproductive comment.
In all five of these cases, Shelin argues, the Kremlin has “fallen into its own traps,” something that would be surprising if it were not so frequent.