Staunton, December 31 – Many people believe that despite the calendar, the 20th century began in 1914 with the start of World War I, Georgy Satarov says; but if it began then, it is in no hurry to end given that “there is a country on the earth in which 100 million adults and more or less wise people have tolerated the power of vulgar bandits.”
And when at the same time, the rest of the world over the same period “has tolerated alongside itself these bandits who are armed with an enormous nuclear arsenal.” Moreover, how can one speak of a new century when ISIS and its ideas are all too obviously flourishing, the Moscow commentator asks in a “Yezhnednevny zhurnal” article (ej.ru/?a=note&id=29146).
The year 15 “began not immediately after the two-week-long New Year’s drunk” 12 months ago, he continues. “It began on February 27 when Boris Nemtsov was killed,” an event that Satarov suggests may ultimately be what the past year will be remembered for, “the year when they killed Boris Nemtsov.”
And year 15 ended with the unjustified sentences handed down against Ildar Dadin and Ivan Nepomnyashy and the suicide of Vlad Kolesnikov. It was in fine “a difficult year for us. But it was a year much more difficult and even terrible for Putin although he quite sluggishly conceals this. From time to time.”
In January of year 15, Satarov continues, he was asked what the most important domestic problem facing Russia was and answered “Ukraine” because “dictators who have suffered fiascos in domestic policy in their own way sharply increase their foreign policy activity” as a means to “solve domestic problems.
That is what Putin did in year 14 immediately after the Sochi Olympiad, and it has defined what he and others are pleased to call, quite mistakenly in fact, “’the foreign policy of Russia’” ever since.
As a result of this “policy,” Satarov says, “Russia is surrounded by a ring of countries among whom does not remain a single friendly one. Formal partners remain, of course, but they all by their actions have shown that they no longer connect their present and future with Russia.” Such signals are increasing not only in frequency but in intensity as well.
Because of this, Russia is experiencing growing unemployment and contracting production, emptying shelves and the falling ruble, “the flight from the country of the most talented people, criminals in judicial robes,” and no on. Unlike other peoples, Russians are having to get along “without medicine, without healthcare, without science, without culture but on the other hand with the law of God in the schools.”
“All this,” Satarov says, “is the reverse side of what it is customary to call Putin’s ‘foreign policy.’”
The Kremlin leader “hoped that his ‘foreign policy’ would save him, the commentator writes. He fed people on the narcotic of the mania of greatness supposing that this would support his regime.” But that has proved “a dead end. There won’t be any greatness again; there will be a great collapse” instead.
No one can be sure “how quickly” this will happen, Satarov observes. “That is difficult to predict,” but he adds that he is “certain of one thing: 2016 will define above all the fate of Putin,” who will end either as a Pinochet, a Milosevich, or a Qaddafi, possibilities that have cost the Kremlin leader sleep for “almost a decade.”
Satarov concludes with two further predictions which he has have “a high probability” of coming true. The first is that there won’t be any presidential elections in Russia in 2018; and the second is that if such voting does occur then or earlier, “among the candidates will not be V.V. Putin.”