Russia: An Inflection Point Coming?

Well, things are looking pretty grim for Mr. Putin and his crowd these days. What to make of this?

Some argue that his popularity may suddenly plummet, opening up the door for possible change. Others argue that allowing a disaster in Russia is not worth the risk. Kevin Drum, writing for Mother Jones, is one of them.

he writes this

I have precious little sympathy for Putin, whose success—such as it is—is based on a toxic stew of insecurities and quixotic appetites that have expressed themselves in a destructive brand of crude nativism; reactionary bigotry; disdain for the rule of law, both domestic and international; narrow and myopic economic vision; and dependence on an outdated and illiberal oligarchy to retain power. Nonetheless, there are kernels of legitimate grievance buried in many of these impulses, as well as kernels of necessity given both Russia’s culture and the post-Cold War collapse of its economy that has left it perilously dependent on extractive industries.

Kernels of legitimate grievance? Just what does that mean? More obscure is the phrase “kernels of necessity”.  Let’ not get confused about what is going on. The Ukraine adventure was not something based on a legitimate grievance. Nor was it necessary for Russia. It was chosen by Mr. Putin as a tactical move. It was an incursion of choice. He can end it whenever he wants to do so. He can negotiate his way out of it. But if the west flinches now, he will win. And if he wins here, he will know that he can flout the foundations of western security again.

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2 thoughts on “Russia: An Inflection Point Coming?”

  1. Oh No. illiberal oligarchy…hmm an occidental or oriental template, that? …rule by rent seeking ….and the rush to Nato up the former Warsaw Pact, and in piecemeal fashion was at best clumsy and unthinking of the how hot the Russian Spring can get since that Khrushchev Thaw. Which ain’t to say Putin is anything but a gangster, but even thugs remember Stalingrad..

  2. Interesting. Well let’s see “how hot” the Russian people actually are. When I was there a few years before Putin turned the country, they were not “hot” at all and BTW NATO was a non-issue. In fact, there was even serious talk of Russia joining NATO. Putin has tried to heat things up, but I am not convinced that this is anything but window dressing. I guess we will find out.

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