Moscow analyst: Putin’s ‘greatest task’ is to become a new Stalin and divide world with West

Guards disposing of corpses of executed GULAG prisoners

Guards disposing of corpses of executed GULAG prisoners by Danzig Baldaev 

2015/03/06 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

On the 62nd anniversary of his death today, Stalin continues to cast an ever darker shadow over Russia, sparking debates about how he should best be remembered and the transformation of the GULAG museum in Perm from one memorializing his victims to one celebrating their jailors.

But beyond these symbols, the influence of Stalin on the thinking of Vladimir Putin and his regime is increasingly obvious and strong, as Moscow political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky pointed out on the eve of this anniversary on Ekho Moskvy’s “Osoboye mneniye” program hosted by Olga Zhuravlyeva.

According to Belkovsky, “Putin’s most important task is to become in international politics a new Stalin, not in the domestic sense but in the international. That is, to move toward a second Yalta, to return to the world of Yalta and Potsdam, and to agree with the US and the EU, and in the case of the EU in the first instance with Germany, about the division of the world” with clearly “fixed zones of influence.”

Ukraine, he continues, “is only a place des armes and instrument for the solution of these tasks” and those Putin is using there are “only pawns on a chessboard,” who can be sacrificed in the name of the endgame. This is something a few of these people may already be beginning to recognize and even to fear.

But despite his suggestion that Putin is following in the footsteps of Stalin internationally rather than at home, Belkovsky also discussed some of the ways in which the Kremlin leader is copying the late dictator at home, including “the routinization” of the persecution of his enemies by use of ostensibly judicial institutions and the spread of violence throughout the country.

As a result of Putin’s actions, human life in Russia “isn’t worth anything,” and a decision to kill him is taken in terms of his “liquidation cost.” That means, Belkovsky says, that “the question to kill this or that individual or not to kill him is made” by comparing the costs of killing him against the damage the potential victim is thought to have inflicted on the regime.

The Moscow analyst says it would now cost about 5,000 US dollars to have him killed and that means that any damage he might cause above this sum would be make a strong case for the Putin regime to have him eliminated. Killing someone else, like Boris Nemtsov, of course, would have cost much more, but the principle is the same.

Morality, truth and the values of civilization mean nothing to those making this kind of calculation. It is all about the personal comfort of the leader. Putin could have gone to Nemtsov’s funeral – that would have played well in many places – but he didn’t because to do so would have been “very uncomfortable psychologically” for the Kremlin leader.

Asked whether he believes that Putin enjoys the backing of 86 percent of Russians, Belkovsky said he “believes only in the Lord God.” As far as the 86 percent figure is concerned, he said it reflects what people know they are expected to answer on the basis of what they see on Russian television.

Boris Yeltsin didn’t get that kind of support because he did not have “total propaganda,” as Putin does. Yeltsin despite all his shortcomings was a democrat. Those who rely on total propaganda like Putin operate under its laws: there must be only one enemy and only one point of view.

The Soviet Union began to fall apart when programs like “Vzglyad” appeared under Mikhail Gorbachev, when it became obvious that there were various points of view on many issues and when it also became clear that the United States was not Russia’s enemy. Putin remembers this and has drawn conclusions accordingly.

That is driving the Kremlin leader rather than fear of opposition or a Maidan in Russia. Unlike Yanukovych, Putin would have no difficulty ordering the use of force against the population, and in fact, under current conditions, he has no reason to believe that he must use mass force. Surgical strikes against its leaders and mass propaganda are sufficient.

But there is one positive thing to derive from the anniversary of Stalin’s death: even Putin will not live forever, and he has an obvious successor, Dmitry Medvedev, whose “only source of legitimacy” would involve “the rejection of Putinism and in the first instance the rejection of the world war” toward which Putin is moving.

That would be true of any other successor, just as it was true of Khrushchev after Stalin, Belkovsky suggests, “and we know from the example of Alexander I and Paul I that heirs often conduct a policy directly opposed to their predecessors.

“All of us are mortal,” Belkovsky points out, “including Putin” and if something suddenly happens … we know from the examples of Alexander I and Paul I that heirs frequently conduct a policy directly opposed to their predecessors,” just as more recently Nikita Khrushchev did after he succeeded Stalin.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • puttypants

    How could anyone in their right mind celebrate a Stalin who was a mass murderer. He killed my entire family in 1932-33 of starvation. How could anyone question what this creature was. Putin is the most dangerous crazy manic that has come along since that Stalin and He will live out Stalin’s legacy. God help us all. West…America, UK where are you all but worst are the Hungarians, the czech’s, Germans and French who really could stop him and are doing nothing!! They are just as responsible as Putin is for the murder and mayhem he has caused in Ukraine, in Georgia, in Chechnya. With the arms he has sold to Syria, Iran he is also responsible for the Islamic insanity of the middle-east. God help us all the anti-christ is here.

    • Dirk Smith

      Asperger’s disease mixed with megalomania and greed is not a promising mix of “leadership.” His removal would save thousands of lives.

      • TheBlogFodder

        If Putin is taken out, it will be by someone he “trusts”, as Beria took out Stalin.
        Asperger’s is not a disease, it is a Syndrome, not that it matters much in this case, but for the sake of others with Asperger’s, several of whom I know, please.

        • Michel Cloarec

          You are right ! Fair is fair !
          PUTINNANIA is a better disease description !
          alternative is DYSMORPHOBIE !

        • Dirk Smith

          I stand corrected. Let’s call it perhaps a ‘Napoleonic complex.’ It all adds up to sociopathic behavior.

      • Mephisto

        Putin is not an Asperger. He is a psychopath/sociopath (antisocial personality disorder is the corrent medical term). Read something about his childhood. He grew up in post-WW2 St. Petersburg among poverty and squalor, later he became part of some street gang and was very aggressive (beating kids). He has some deep rooted inferiority complex stemming from his dwarwish height etc. An Asperger would not belong to a street gang.

    • Mephisto

      There was a poll recently among the Czechs concerning Putin and Ukraine. 85% of respondents were against Putin and saw Russia as the biggest current threat in the world. But Putin has bought some politicians (most notably Zeman, but he is not the only one) who are visible to the outside world and are damaging out image abroad. But we are only a small nation without much influence in the EU.

      Merkel, Hollande and Obama are to blame for appeasing this KGB asshole.

      • puttypants

        Mephisto. I understand you are a small country….if all the small countries got together and started demonstrating agains putin and agains your own corrupt governments the world would have to listen. That’s why we have the internet so people can talk with one another. If there is enough anti-Putin people out demonstrating in the world believe me things would change.

  • Michael Steele

    I outlived Stalin. I’ll outlive Putin……….he is no longer needed on this earth……..до свидания Путин до свидания! (Goodbye Putin Goodbye!)

    • Michel Cloarec

      The problem is that , this putin is a POK (prisoner of kremlin)
      If he is removed from his post, he will became a normal citizen , and then subject to trials for thefts, corruptions,murders, etc…..

  • Michel Cloarec

    Of course the world must celebrate this day . And I am sure there are more of those days to celebrate in the near future . List is disponible at no charge !
    And if for any reasons you don´t like borsch, I treat you with a macdo and coke !

  • TheBlogFodder

    Khrushchev replaced Stalin but was not ruthless enough in rooting out all with a vested interest in Stalinism, which is why he fell from grace so rapidly. Medvedev won’t last even as long as Khrushchev before he is replaced by eg Kadyrov

  • Czech Friend

    Putin’s assasination should really be on the table, no question now. My country was not allowed to stand up to Hitler but the heroic group of Czech and Slovak special soldiers who killed Reinhard Heyndrich in Prague in 1942 in Operation Anthropoid clearly showed that you can defeat evil even if those at power who should act think no one can’t.

    I don’t buy the argument that killing Putin will bring anyone worse for a second. No! It would give cowardly West the second and the last chance to show Russians we really mean business!