Staunton, Jan. 7 – In his 2007 Munich speech, Vladimir Putin presented the West with an ultimatum: if the West wanted Russian oil and gas, it had to give Moscow a veto over decisions about the international system. The West rejected that demand and began taking steps to deny Russia that leverage, Anatoly Nesmiyan who blogs under the screen name “El Murid” says.
Europe long before Putin invaded Ukraine announced plans to end its dependence on Russian oil and gas, the blogger says; and thus the war Putin declared on the West 15 years ago, he has lost. His “special operation” in Ukraine is only a doomed attempt to reverse that defeat, one that has only exacerbated its consequences (publizist.ru/blogs/113683/44844/-).
The Kremlin leader thought he could be successful in the war he declared in 2007 because of the enormous influx of money from oil and gas sales abroad. But he was wrong in thinking that he and his policies were responsible for that pattern and that it was sustainable for very long.
“Putin and his clique,” El Murid argues, “in their intellectual poverty ascribed the successes of the raw materials-based Russian economy to themselves. And when the supercycle came to an end and then went into decline, they were not able to understand this” or find within themselves the ability to change curse
Because power and property are so closely intertwined in the Putin system, the disappearance of wealth inevitably points to the demise of the current ruling class, something its members naturally fear and oppose; but they haven’t been able to come up with a solution and so they have joined Putin in throwing the dice in Ukraine.
What this highlights, he continues, is that the old model on which the Putin system rests is coming to an end but no new model has yet been adopted. Those in power today won’t give it up easily, El Murid says; but it is already clear that they have “no more chances to hold on than Hitler had to take part in a victory parade on Red Square.”
The questions remaining are how and when this change will occur. That there will be a struggle is clear and that it may take some time is certain. Everything depends on whether the current Putin elite will simply try to continue act as it has or instead will read the handwriting on the wall and make plans for a transition to a new order.
If it does the former, it is headed for self-destruction and the destruction of Russia; if the latter, there is at least a chance that the current elite may find a place in a new Russia and that that Russia will survive rather than disappear.