Staunton, May 31 – Vladimir Putin considers his “main task” to be the restoration of the USSR, Mikhail Khazin says. That is his “mission;” and unlike his Western counterparts, he has a plan to achieve it while they do not have one to stop him from doing so, even though if he achieves a Yalta-like division of the world, he will become “a sacred figure like Stalin.”
In his Davos speech, the Kremlin leader said directly to the West: “you do not have a plan but we do,” the Moscow economist says, arguing that since the retirement of Nixon, the West has not had anyone who could prepare one and so Putin finds himself in an “ideal” position (business-gazeta.ru/article/511182).
Except for inflation, which is a problem, the Kremlin now is in the best position it has been “for the last 30 years,” certainly “better than was the case in 1998. It only must act correctly” so that the West will make the kind of concessions that will allow Putin to achieve his goals.
If the West does make concessions to the Kremlin leader’s demand for a recognition of a Russian sphere of influence covering the former Soviet space, that will be “’a new Yalta’” and Putin “will be transformed into a sacred figure … comparable to Stalin. After that, he can assume any position” and so all the talk about succession will become irrelevant.
Putin won’t need the presidency. He can call himself anything he likes, but he will control the situation. That is because “sacred figures” resembling what Stalin was and what Putin would like to become don’t need specific titles. They are beyond such petty considerations, even if their opponents obsess about them.
Such calculations, Khazin suggests, explain why Putin is so interested in gaining Western recognition of a Russian sphere of influence, starting with but not limited to Belarus and Ukraine, and why the West which may be ready to make concessions on that point do not appear capable of understanding how far reaching such actions would be.