Russian political elite gets caught in its own trap by giving modern weapons to savages.
Vladimir Putin has just made the most sensational and the most truthful statement in his whole political career. During recent meeting of Russian Security Council dealing with threats to Russia’s sovereignty and territorial stability Putin said that no such threat actually exists.
Probably this statement sounds bizarre and weird to anyone capable of logical reasoning. If nothing threatens Russia’s sovereignty and stability, why cook up the militaristic high of the last months, why annex Crimea, why start a war in Donbas? When Russia occupied Crimea, the propaganda’s main point was that the occupation was necessary as Crimea was about to become a site for NATO military base, which would threaten Russia’s national interests. The memory of these events and statements is still fresh and new to be forgotten by the people. But Putin has forgotten, as his logic is special.
It is easy to consider Putin a victim of paranoid disorder, who is mostly concerned with his prospective suicide in the underground bunker. But in reality he is not paranoid. He is a man who thinks and acts within a specific frame of mind. This frame of mind was formed by a limited life experience within the KGB and soviet-borne outlook on the world and world politics. His goal was to restore a certain “parity” of soviet times. In this respect Russian president is no different from an average Russian subject. Both are unable to comprehend that overwhelming nuclear potential, bloated war industry and armed to its teeth military amongst the poverty-stricken country are not achievements but failures.
The wish to restore Soviet “parity” with the United States logically leads to a conclusion that such Soviet parity is not possible without the restoration of Soviet Union in some form. Ans no Soviet Union is possible without Ukraine. Because of this the wish of Ukrainian people to choose their destiny freely and independently from Russia’s plans is a personal insult to Putin. He is insulted not only by the Ukrainians’ independent behaviour, but also by the hated West, which, in Putin’s eyes, is trying to steal serfs from their lawful Muscovite master. He, therefore, decided to try and restore status quo, if not take revenge. Crimea and Donbas are steps in greater plan to take back control over Ukraine.
Until recently Putin had reasons to believe that he will be successful, even despite numerous failures of the militants in Donbas. He though that by causing permanent destabilization in one Ukrainian region and by turning it into a regular hot spot he will succeed in repelling West away from Ukraine.The crash site of MH17 (photo: ITAR-TASS)
But everything went to hell, when some talented rocket complex operator shot the Malaysian Boeing out of the Donbas sky. This event drastically changed Putin’s plans. After this “parity”, Ukraine and Soviet Union have lost their priority not only for Putin but also for the whole Russian political and business elite. Boeing took the conflict in Ukraine out of the regional geopolitical context, in which all territorial conflicts in Eurasia existed, and made it a Russian internal problem. Boeing turned the leaders of Russia, their partners and proxies into prospective suspects in criminal cases which can be launched at any time in any civilized country. And this is much worse than any sanctions. Putin knows it all too well, as he himself became Russia’s President as a result of international justice process.
Today most people do not remember that last years of Boris Yeltsin’s reign were marred by the corruption scandal centred on his family and partners. Yeltsin’s love for democracy was noted by his colleague Bill Clinton, but did not save him from justice in face of Switzerland’s iron lady Carla del Ponte, district prosecutor of Ticino canton and federal prosecutor of Switzerland.
Carla del Ponte found a willing ally inside Russia, Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov. This alliance undermined the power of Yeltsin’s clan so that elite betrayed him and went over to his main opponents – former prime minister Eugeniy Primakov and Moscow’s mayor Yuri Luzhkov. It took a lot of effort on the part of Boris Berezovsky, introduction of Putin and discrediting evidence against Skuratov to grant Yeltsin’s “family” escape with a scare. Yeltsin escaped at the price of power, but another main figure in the corruption criminal case, Pavel Borodin, was arrested and spent several unpleasant months in custody, awaiting the decision on his fate.
Why is it important to bring up these details? The Dutch investigators in charge of assessment of Boeing crash can also find a talented honest lawyer among their midst. They will even settle for somebody with a lot of ambition, who understands the scale of social resonance which will accompany the honest investigation of the crash. This prosecutor will start criminal proceedings against Putin, Shoygu and other top Russian officials. To this prosecutor Putin will be a nobody, the same as Augusto Pinochet with all his guarantees of international immunity was a nobody for judge Baltasar Garzon.
Moreover, it is possible that the subjects of these criminal proceedings will learn about them at the time when they leave Russian Federation’s borders. Exactly this has happened to Pinochet, former Russian nuclear energy minister Evgeniy Adamov and many other politicians and high-ranking officials of the third world, who ended up in custody while visiting civilized countries. The shadow of the Boeing will follow Putin always, and not only him, but every member of Russian government. It is impossible to control Dutch prosecutors or to bribe Dutch lawyers. They can find people, who were supplying the terrorists with weapons, heads of fictitious companies, holders of suspicious bank accounts, terrorist connections. They will have access to information, including bank information, that would have stayed hidden and could have never been used in legal proceedings if not for the fallen Boeing and crash investigation. And this investigation will go on for years, peace of mind taken away forever. Russian elites ended up caught in their own trap, which they set up by giving modern weapons to savages.
Putin’s words mean one thing: nothing threatens the regime. Nothing and nobody. The elites should calm down and avoid panic. They should try to jump out of the fix, that they got into because of their dumb conviction that they have found a way to deceive the whole world, created the ideal way to destabilize the neighbour country and remain clean in the eyes of the world.Meeting of Russian Federation Security Council (photo: kremlin.ru)
Putin screwed up because he is not a politician. He is a bureaucrat, and not just any bureaucrat, but a product of KGB bureaucracy, which is founded upon supplying the political leadership with the “facts” they want to hear and suppressing upsetting evidence. Because of this Putin is convinced that a secret of success is to come up with clear simple plan. In his eyes, once the plan is decided upon it is ought to work no matter what. Putin’s brain suppresses everything that does not go according to this plan. He does not take notice of events, people’s actions or “incidents” which, at the closer look, turn out to be direct and foreseeable consequences of his politics. That is why the Crimean adventure became an infrastructure dead weight on the ailing Russian economy, Novorossiya failed, Donbas resulted in crowds of orcs under the command of psychopath Girkin and Buk-M1 downed a civil plane instead of the military transport. Any professional politician would foresee the consequences of this mess, but not Putin. Putin is not like any politician. He does not want to assess risks, he demands that the instructions must be followed blindly, as if the armed conflict were a vacuum cleaner which must work according to its specifications.
As a result of his politics Putin now has nowhere to turn. Of course, he could invade Ukraine and help his beloved bandits of DNR, but the Netherlands with its prosecutors are off limits to his army. And if it is not possible to occupy Holland and put up Russian flag above the office of Dutch Prosecutor General, other things lose their importance. His enemies already feel how badly stuck he is, and they prepare to strike from everywhere. London suddenly brings up the long-forgotten poisoning of Litvinenko and gets all serious about bringing real perpetrators to justice. They are not content any more with common executors like lame poisoner Lugovoy, now known as the author of the craziest legal initiatives taken up by the Russian Duma. They want the hides of those who hired the killers. What if the British and Dutch investigators point to the same perpetrators? What will happen then?
And this is not the last consequence. This is only the beginning of the processes, which Putin triggered but can no longer control or stop. Or can he? Perhaps he can mollify the consequences a bit, take himself and his family out of danger, agree to collaborate with the investigators? But what can he offer?
It appears, he himself is at a complete loss about the nearest future. The only thing he knows for sure – he needs to put up a show of strong hand holding the reins. Otherwise, he will be torn apart, as Russian tradition dictates. So, read his lips: we are not in any danger…
(by Vitaliy Portnikov, translated by Anna Palagina)