What matters is not what the Russian President said but how he did it. In this light, non-faction member of the Ukrainian Parliament Boryslav Bereza says he enjoyed Vladimir Putin’s press conference, as the Russian President looked awkward and lost.
“Putin himself did not believe what he was saying. He was different from the Putin both Russia and the global community are used to seeing,” the MP notes.
Social psychology Viktor Pushkar also notes that the Russian President does not hold himself as confidently as before. According to him, Putin “is no longer playing the part of the cool macho.”
Putin did not post “Crimea is ours”
Putin lacked confidence the most at the beginning of the press conference when, while characterizing the financial and economic situations in Russia, he assured that everything would right itself within two years’ time.
“It felt as though he were declaring a written text, separate from Putin’s thoughts. Putin admits that the situation is bad, but he does not want to acknowledge that it is a consequence of his policies,” says political expert Volodymyr Fesenko.
Putin understands the conflict, but has no idea of how to escape this dead-end situation.
“His rhetoric about the West is harsh – about the wall, about bear claws and teeth… He is convincing himself and his people that they are in the right. And the fixation itself – right or wrong, – testifies to a very serious conflict,” thinks Volodymyr Fesenko.
It is also significant that Putin did not mention Crimea when summarizing the year’s work. As to Ukraine, the Russian President spoke both appeasingly and menacingly. According to Fesenko, it seemed as though Putin had an olive branch of peace in one hand and a Kalashnikov in the other.
“There were many stereotypes he had used before: particularly the one about an armed coup which allegedly happened in Ukraine this February,” notes the political expert.
Experts also note the reaction of the press in attendance and the Russian population overall: Vladimir Putin’s jokes often failed to elicit approval in the form of applause.