Article by: Pavel Kazarin
All of their recent claims prove one thing: they are just as sure that personae are more important than principles. In reality, anyone can take the presidential seat, however no movements will occur until the policies change. If Navalny and Khodorkovsky think that they, having overpowered the dragon, will be able to become a light version of this very dragon, they will have to kiss this illusion adieu.
However, this is not the essence of the matter – another fact is much more important. Anyone who comes to replace Vladimir Putin will have to begin their presidency with the discussion of Crimea’s fate.
All of this because the Russian economy is woven into the global economic system like bead into a bracelet. It flourishing or degradation do not depend on Moscow’s will, but on a number of various factors, which the Kremlin is unable to influence. All of its social welfare is the result of the fact that Russia has spent the last 23 years trying to play by the rules.
This spring it stopped following the rules of the game. The Crimean precedent is not Kosovo or Abkhazia. If the screenwriters in Moscow had considered it necessary to retain the peninsula in the format of an unacknowledged republic, the reaction of the West would have been much milder. However, Moscow decided to not just draw another state border line on the world map, it decided to erase the current one. And this is unacceptable from the perspective of any contemporary Western politicians. To turn a blind eye to this would mean to unfreeze all other territorial demands which are accumulating all over the world. Nobody can resort to this.
Which is why Russia received sanctions. Which is why it turned into a pariah. As such, the Russian President can come to Valday and knock a virtual shoe on a virtual UN booth. However, this will not change anything – nobody will speak to him the same way they did before Crimea.
Crimea became an oven in which Russia’s gold reserves will burn every day
The ruble exchange rate will continue to fall. The economic situation is becoming more and more complex. Conflicts between various financial-industrial groups accumulate. Crimea unwittingly became an oven for Russia in which the country’s gold reserves will burn daily, as they were sent to support the stability that was considered to be the main achievement of the early 2000’s.
Navalny and Khodorkovsky may become Presidents only in Russia which will end up on the brink of collapse because of all the mistakes made by the current political course of actions. If they do become leaders of the country, their only task will be the salvation from the noose of the sanctions. If they do move to the Kremlin, their main goal would be to return Russia to the general civilized space. Neither of these politicians will be able to win in a different Russia. If oil becomes sky-high and the Russian budget overcomes all of its social obligations, Alexey Anatoliyevich will remain in Maryino and Mikhail Borisovich – in Switzerland.
If one of them takes the presidential seat, this will mean that the vertical system of power had fallen. That there is no more consensus among the elites. That Vladimir Putin lost power as a result of a coup or a street protest. That the country is on the brink of losing control. That the only recipe for survival is receiving loans from outside players.
In order to achieve this, any future Russian President will have to once again raise the issue of the peninsula’s fate. Because the sanctions are not emotional, they are technological. If one country unilaterally starts to restructure the system of security in Europe’s underbelly, it has to be weakened. And before it corrects its own mistake, there is no sense to allow it to become stronger again.
The story of Crimea is not the territory of what is desirable, but the space of what is imperative. It is not about Ukraine or Russia, not about Crimea or someone’s moods. It is about the principles the modern world is based on. All those who like to think that there are no more rules other than dictatorship of force in this world are deeply mistaken.
We can even assume that the West finds it more important not for Crimea to return to Ukraine but for it to no longer belong to Russia. However, in any case, any Navalny and any Khodorkovsky in case of victory will have no other agenda other than discussing the future of the peninsula. Because a country in which they are able to come to power will be unable to survive without annulling everything the federal TV channels call “Crimean spring.”