Wednesday, January 19, 2022

West Lacks Mechanisms to Change Kremlin Policies and Must Act to Outlast Putin Regime, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 30 – Six years ago, Russian economist Vladislav Inozemtsev argued in Russia of the 2010s: How to Live with It and How to Outlive It that the West must recognize how limited is ability is to change Kremlin policies or to influence the future social and political development of Russia (

            Now, in Neprikosnoveny Zapas, he argues such a recognition is even more critical given the growing rift between Russia and the West and the widespread assumption of Western leaders sanctions can force the Kremlin to change course (

            Vladimir Putin and his regime will ignore any sanctions, Inozemtsev says, and thus demonstrate that “the West does not have any real instruments for the modification of Moscow’s actions. Moreover, and more important, he continues, “transformations in the Russian Federation will only happen when and if the vast majority of the population are ready and demand them.”

            The Russian government has many resources to ensure that time will not come anytime soon however much the small Russian opposition in whom the West invests so many hopes argues otherwise, the economist continues.

            “Consequently, he says, his recommendation to the West is “not to try to change Putin’s Russia but simply outlive it,” doing whatever is necessary to contain its nefarious actions abroad but not counting on any fundamental transformation inside. At the very least, the West must recognize that it lacks the ability to make anything else happen.

            And he concludes for good measure that all who want to see Russia a democratic and European state need to practice the first rule of good doctors: do no harm. Otherwise by intervening in ways that have consequences they don’t understand, both outsiders and opposition activists may end by making the situation much worse.

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