Thursday, March 31, 2022

Despite Ukraine and Sanctions, Putin Still Enjoys an Enormous Credit of Trust with Russians but This Isn’t Infinite, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 22 – Most Russians expect that the current crisis arising from the fighting in Ukraine and the sanctions the West has imposed will be overcome in a few months; and as a result, they are still prepared to support Vladimir Putin in his policies, Vladimir Pastukhov says. But this “credit of trust” won’t last forever, and the Kremlin leader understands that.

            Overwhelmingly, Russians believe that the last 20 years under Putin have been good for them, and consequently, they expect that things will continue to be, even if there are some bumps on the road as at present, the London-based Russian analyst continues (

            One can even say that this “belief that current difficulties will be temporary and manageable represents the new social consensus” in Russia, Pastukhov says. “For the most part,” Russians and the Russian elite assume that any costs at present will be overcome and overcome relatively quickly. In that event, paying these costs will be something they’ll accept.

            For the time being, this gives Putin a remarkably free hand, although it shows the immaturity of the Russian people and their inability to imagine that the neither the present nor the future will necessarily be like the past and willingness to tolerate cruelty if there is a possibility that it will be.

            However, there is a problem with a loan of this kind: A default will occur if those to whom it is given, the Kremlin leadership, fails to make payments on time. Most Russians expect “the first tranche no later than mid-summer,” Pastukhov says. And if they don’t receive this in the form of a significant normalization of life, “panic may set in.”

            The Russian analyst says that he thinks “the debtor understands this. Putin does not really have an infinite time to resolve the Ukrainian issue. In the next few weeks, he will have to choose being going all out or starting negotiations on the restructuring of this debt.” Such “a denouement” is coming, and April will be a month in which many questions will be answered.

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