May. 3, 2022
Russia Without Putin
Today I found a couple of articles in the New York Post which speculated on the man who would replace Vladimir Putin should he succumb to the many ailments he is 'supposedly' suffering at the moment. As there appears to be no other reporting on Putin's health other than these Post articles which use the words 'rumoured' and 'speculated' to quantify their statements, I put little stock in the story at the moment.
Yet there may very well come a time in the near future when Vladimir Putin is no longer leader of the Russian Federation and I wondered at the outcome of such an event.
I've been a more ardent student of Russian history since the first 'coup' which took place in Ukraine in 2004 under the banner of the Orange Revolution. At that time Victor Yushchenko took the reins of Ukraine and set the stage for events today by promoting a rather extreme nationalism. According to an article published by the Valdai Club, this nationalist sentiment included the ideas that;
“Russia is Ukraine’s number one enemy in the past, present and future (despite being its next-door neighbor and largest economic partner).
Second, only those who associate themselves with the past collaborationist movement (primarily the wartime Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army OUN-UPA) and current ultra-nationalism are genuine Ukrainians. All others were treated as people with the mentality of slaves, idiots or traitors (the untermensch, in a nutshell). Such people should either be re-educated or suppressed. In effect, Ukraine became tacitly divided into first- and second-class citizens and regions.”
These are things to consider when questioning the motivation of Russia to 'de-nazify' the Ukraine today.
But back to Vladimir Putin. In 2020 and based on a number of public poll results throughout the Russian Federation, Vladimir has strong support from a majority of the population. When parsing the results of those polls, The Saker came to the conclusion that;
“... in spite all the objective and subjective problems of Russia, in spite of a widely unpopular pension reform, in spite of all the western sanctions and in spite of the pandemic, Putin still sits alone in a rock-solid position: he has the overwhelming support of the Russian people. “
Yet not all Russians feel that way and there are two camps (a fifth and sixth column) within the Russian ruling establishment that might drastically change the current course of Russia should Putin no longer be in control; the Liberals and the Communists. Both of these political arms were enjoy an increasing popularity and either one could destroy the Russian Federation should their philosophy take hold, only differing in their tactics.
In the current context, being a Russian Liberal means being an 'Atlantic Integrationist' and missing the 1990's when Western financial interests were buying up newly 'privatized' Russian infrastructure and assets under Yeltsin. It was only the arrival of Vladimir Putin which ended the fire sale and even recovered some of the assets from Western bankers and Russian 'oligarchs', which means that the end of Putin would mean people like Alexei Navalny would continue that rape while at the same time inviting NATO into the Ukraine and possibly further East, right onto Russian soil.
Today being a Communist in the Russian Federation means different things depending on your position in society. Most Russians who say they miss 'the old days' of communism do so because they did not have to deal with the frantic and uncertain pace of capitalism back then. Under the old system those people were given a job and a place to live and food to eat so long as they supported the structure that made this all possible, and for those still living today, that system was all they knew for much of their lives.
Yet there are Russian Communists that remember the power of the Politburo and they have spent long hours longing for such control again. These are the Bolsheviks and should they come to power in today's Russia then the historical clock will go back to 1963 when the USSR and the West sat on the brink of nuclear destruction during the Cuban Missile Crisis, only this time the Russians have better missiles.
Should the Bolsheviks regain power then the political gloves Putin is using to handle the Ukraine come off and the veiled threats of nuclear war currently proffered by the Russian press, but not specifically stated by Putin, will become a reality. There will not be a safe space to hide in England, the United States, Canada or the many European countries now supplying arms and manpower to the Ukraine.
One of the things Vladimir Putin did when he came to power was to restore a sense of Russian identity lost during the communist era and the chaos resulting from the destruction of the old USSR. His first acts in that respect were to restore the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Military and they did exactly what they were supposed to do; create a Russian Federation that has been able to grow and prosper even in the face of endless Western financial and military pressure.
As noted earlier, Putin enjoys a wide majority of support from Russians who are thankful to be free of Western influence, most notably now that Russia is 'at war' with the West in Syria and the Ukraine. This new nationalism on display especially since the start of the Ukrainian 'special operation' has many Russian Liberals reading the writing on the wall and fleeing their influential positions in government and non-government organizations, substantially reducing the chances that they would enjoy a revival.
In my mind then, it would not take much for a new Bolshevik leadership to hijack that nationalistic support and turn it into a full fledged battle cry against the West and all that it contains.
So the New York Post and other Western pundits should be careful what they wish for in the removal of Vladimir Putin because things could be a lot worse than they are today for the enemies of Russia and the world is not ready for what will happen in his absence.
For more in-depth analysis of Russia, I recommend The Saker web site. For Russian news I recommend TASS news agency https://tass.com/ , the Novosti network https://ria.ru/world/ and the Yandex network https://yandex.ru/news