Staunton, March 30 – After US President Joe Biden agreed with the statement that Vladimir Putin is a murderer, the Kremlin leader dramatically changed course in terms of his public activities but on the other showed that he is no different than he was before fears of infection during the pandemic drove him into what many call his bunker, Sergey Shelin says.
In the first half of March, before Biden’s words, Putin engaged in standard meetings with officials that were so uneventful that they attracted little notice even in government media, the Rosbalt commentator says. In the second half of the month, however, he was active both in what he did and what he said (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2021/03/30/1894645.html).
What is striking given this change in the level of activity is that Putin remained exactly what he was before he withdrew, someone focused almost exclusively on his relations with foreign leaders, even though he pointedly refused to “ape” them, rather than on the Russian people and their welfare.
But despite this increase in activity, Shelin says, Putin showed that he was returning to public moves unchanged. Thus, although he finally got the coronavirus vaccine, he refused to do so on camera because he wanted to stress that he wasn’t about to “ape” the behavior of his foreign counterparts and show himself in this way to inspire his own citizens.
And even the fact that he put out that word shows that he was as before concerned not so much about his own population as about foreign leaders, including “the most hated of them.” And this pivot was so sharp that Putin even had to correct himself. After suggesting he would start a blog, his spokesman said he had no intention of doing so himself.
Dmitry Peskov said that Putin “says that this will happen but not be his account but that of someone else. The president won’t spend time on it. But he also doesn’t want me, his press secretary, to do so either” (aif.ru/politics/russia/dmitriy_peskov_druzey_u_rossii_gorazdo_bolshe_chem_nedrugov).
In short, the Rosbalt commentator concludes, “the leader will not change to correspond to reality even in this regard, let alone on more important things. And so out of the bunker has appeared not a new Putin, but the same one who went in” because of the pandemic.