Staunton, Feb. 14 – One of Vladimir Putin’s greatest political resources has been the widespread view in Russia and the West that the dangers of Russia’s falling apart are greater than the dangers that it will present if it remains in one piece; but now, Putin’s own actions and threats are causing ever more people to reach the opposite conclusion, Igor Eidman says.
Whether this has reached the tipping point anywhere is open to question. Many of the most senior commentators are still focusing more on the dangers of disintegration, both because that would entail the destruction of a key element of a world they know and because those dangers are real.
But the Russian commentator is right to point out that those who take that defensive position are less numerous than they were and that that those who offer the alternative judgment are becoming more numerous and certainly more vocal, especially as Eidman links this to what Putin has done in the last year (region.expert/risk/).
Eidman’s brief text merits being read in full:
“Since perestroika, people in the West have been afraid of the collapse of the Russian state, the loss of control over the Soviet nuclear arsenal and chaos on one-seventh of the earth’s land area. But after February 24 last year [when Putin launched his expanded invasion of Ukraine], everything changed.
“And it has become clear that Western elites now believe that the risks associated with the continued existence of the Putin state are greater than the risks its collapse will cause. Because that is so, the West has adopted the policy it has regarding Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Before February 2022, “almost no one in Europe wanted the collapse of the Russian Federation, but the Putin authorities by their actions have made that inevitable. And thus, Russian aggression against Ukraine, undertaken according to Putin to ‘preserve Russia’ in fact is leading it to chaos and disintegration.
“The Munich Security Conference will take place soon. Putin used to come to it and deliver revanchist speeches; but now, instead of representatives of the Russian authorities, [opposition figures like] Kasparov and Khodorkovsky are invited. Judging from their recent joint article, these respected (without irony) people will reassure the West that Russia won’t fall apart after its defeat, that there will be some kind of Constituent Assembly and State Council that will peacefully lead the country to democracy.
“Of course, that is nonsense. There is nothing more senseless than to write scenarios for revolutions. At history’s turning points, everything planned always goes wrong, and the situation is defined by random events that can’t be predicted.
“Most importantly, no one needs such plans now: Western public opinion no longer needs to be reassured. It is no longer afraid of some kind of collapse of Putin’s Russian Federation. In any case, that will be less dangerous than a continuation of that country under the rule of a madman with nuclear missiles whose hands are shaking with fear.”