Sunday, December 20, 2020

Putin Preparing Russia for ‘Protracted Siege,’ Stanovaya Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 18 – Perhaps the most important thing Vladimir Putin said yesterday was his declaration of his “universal rule” that dictates he decides everything from the point of view whether it is good for the country, a statement, Tatyana Stanovaya says, showing that he has “monopolized the right to decide” all political and social issues.

            That shift, the political analyst argues, was reflected in the change of tone and psychological “attitude” of the president.” In the past, he portrayed himself as taking action or ready to take action on all issues raised. Yesterday, he adopted a different pose, one that suggests he is basically pleased with what is going on and that dramatic actions aren’t required (

            “If everything in the country is good and the powers are coping with it, then the need for a more active social policy falls away,” and that is exactly the message Putin was sending. But more than that, his words point to his new status “within the system of power.” He is now focused “only on what interests him” and can’t be bothered to deal with anything else.

            Given that perspective, Putin wants to talk only about positive things, and “the only means of reporting about failures has become not an objective report but a denunciation on an opponent,” that is, insisting that bad news is not an objective thing but the work of hostile forces domestic and foreign.

            Especially striking were Putin’s remarkably upbeat comments about the West and the possibilities for a new round of cooperation, The Kremlin leader “is convinced that Russia in recent years has become much more capable of defense and a strong power” and that the West has been reduced to “a clutch of petty provocateurs.”

            This reflects many things, Stanovaya says, but perhaps the most important is the end in Putin’s mind of the division between domestic and foreign policy. Today, he approaches both in the same way and applies the same standards.  Domestically, “any real opposition activity will be viewed as anti-state” and thus subject to destruction.

            That is because for Putin, power at home is “exclusively an instrument of foreign influence.” What helps the regime is good; what works against it must be eliminated. In short, Putin has simplified politics to he who is not with us is against us, something that points toward a complete ban on the liberal opposition at home in the name of dealing with the outer world.

            Thus, the political analyst concludes, 2020 which “began with constitutional reform and the annulment of terms is ending with the completion of a fortress ready for a protracted siege.” 


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