No panic from Putin as West still doesn’t recognize nature of his threat to the world, Pavlova says

Putin. MH17: The blood on his hands. (Political cartoon by Ramirez, 2014)

 

2016/09/30 • Analysis & Opinion, Politics

Many Russian opposition commentators are saying that in the wake of the release of the report showing Moscow’s culpability in the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner Vladimir Putin is panicking and fears being hauled before an international tribunal in the Hague.

Irina Pavlova, Russian historian

Irina Pavlova, Russian historian

But these commentators are wrong, historian Irina Pavlova says, because Putin recognizes not only that he is not threatened by such a fate but also that the West has failed to take his measure and put in place measures that would end or at least limit his use of the strategies and tactics he has been using.

Analysts like Andrey Illarionov and Vitaly Portnikov, not to mention those who have long been predicting the imminent end of Putin’s regime and the emergence of a new Russia at peace with the world have fastened on the MH17 report as pointing to that, the US-based Russian historian argues.

They are almost certainly wrong, she says, pointing to the words of another Russian commentator, Ilya Milshteyn, whose conclusions about what the MH17 report really means for Putin and the West that still has yet to take his measure.

He writes:

“For the first time in all of history, humanity has been taken hostage and something as yet unclear is required for its liberation: Either capitulation with a further signing of agreements with the Kremlin about the division of the world, or a clash and victory, or a longterm policy of patient and exhausting balancing on the edge of war and peace.”

Milshteyn continues: “Right now, this clash of humanity with a most powerful terrorist organization — one that Russia hasn’t banned but chosen — has entered a new stage.” But all indications are that “everything still remains in a fog” with the West still unsure of what it is up against and how it must act as a result.

Russian mercenaries taking photographs with personal items found among the debris at the crash site of MH17 (Image: Dmitry Lovetsky/AP)

Russian mercenaries taking photographs with personal items found among the debris at the crash site of MH17 (Image: Dmitry Lovetsky/AP)

If somewhat emotionally expressed, Pavlova says, this is exactly right, because the West still has not recognized that “today it is dealing not simply with a dangerous figure but with a new type of political player on the world arena,” one who behaves — albeit armed with the most powerful weapons — like a thuggish youth who “spits on rules, obligations, and Western values.”

Putin is, she says, “aggressive, purposeful and consistent in his actions,” all facts that many in the West and in Russia too have failed to take into account.

Pavlova concludes by quoting her own words of more than a year ago: “Today, from the Western countries and above all the US, wisdom and political will is required to oppose the political challenge posed by the Kremlin.” This response must be peaceful because in a military conflict, Putin will use his nuclear weapons.

Therefore, she wrote then and reiterates now:

“The response must be intelligent, precise and unexpected. The Russian powers that be must be forever deprived of the temptation to build their policy on human ignorance, lies and disinformation” and thus take away from them the ability to act in foreign policy by “Stalinist methods of provocation.”

Russian "Buk" surface-to-air missile system at  an arms show. The Dutch National Detective Force said there was conclusive evidence that a missile from the Russian-made Buk 9M38 missile system downed the MH17 passenger flight on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

Russian “Buk” surface-to-air missile system at an arms show. The Dutch National Detective Force said there was conclusive evidence that a missile from the Russian-made Buk 9M38 missile system downed the MH17 passenger flight on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

For that to happen, Pavlova says, “it is vitally necessary to find ‘a key’ to change the policy of the present Russian authorities, to undermine the pro-Stalinist identity constructed by it within the country, and to destroy the image of the global world, which the Kremlin is trying to build, using the values and methods of Stalinist great power approach.”

“Unfortunately,” she writes now, “there is none of this in evidence yet.” And because there isn’t, Putin isn’t panicking and will continue to act as he is confident that he can get away with murder and much else besides.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Quartermaster

    At present I don’t agree that Putin is panicking either. If the investigation results in charges at the ICC and an international warrant for his and Shoigu’s arrest, then perhaps he might get a bit uncomfortable. He would have to restrict his international movements, but that’s about the extent of his problems. An extension of sanctions, both in time and severity, would curtail his abilities on the international stage as his regime’s financial ability would be squeezed further.

  • Patrick

    This expert said that the West can’t use violence because Putin will then use his nuclear weapons. This means that every time Putin uses the highest means of power, which is violence, the West should not use violence to stop him. But then he can’t be stopped because nothing is stronger than violence. Thus can’t be right !

    Furthermore the West has these bombs as well so if we can’t use violence because of these weapons in Russian hands than the same logics means that Russia should be able to use violence because of our nukes but still they do.

    Something doesn’t fit here !

  • zorbatheturk

    Putin will not be around forever. But this article is correct in that many Western policy makers so far have been either too stupid or too naive to respond adequately to the cockroach in the Kremlin and his revanchist agenda. Terrorist RuSSia is a fascist state and must not be appeased.

  • Matt Franklin

    9/11 enabled Russism. This took the limelight from fascist ruSSia’s terror. The Moscow bombings and the war crimes committed in Grozny were given a pass because the blame was put on Muslims. Obama’s naivety in foreign policy added gas to the fire. This fire needs to be extinguish https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/26b2d1507d990911c6abf81cd0419f433bbe5ceebaec23d66731ee35d64109fa.jpg ed; and soon.

  • anonymous

    The only power the west has to influence Russia (not Putin) is financial. If the West were to apply the real financial penalties, Russian would bankrupt and this would help Putin stay in power. Surprise, Putin needs Russia to be isolated enemy of the free world; that is the only way he can continue in power. The Russian people and economy may withstand any storm as the Russian people have never shown any inclination to an open and freedom loving people ever in history. The Russian people are as much a part of the big lies as Putin. No, there is no end to Putin. He is not in panic. He cannot be defeated as he understands not the west but the Russian mentality; centuries of Czars, dictators, criminals, and thieves; and no future change needed for the Russian people.

  • Cargocat

    So what happens now that Russia is shown as responsible for the destruction of MH17? Are there no consequences? There must be accountability for this but it seems that no nation is wiling to demand justice for the innocent victims of this criminal action. Putin must pay!