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Putin to turn a deaf ear to Biden’s words, Portnikov says

U.S. President Joseph Biden delivering remarks on Russia on 15 April 2021.
Putin to turn a deaf ear to Biden’s words, Portnikov says
Article by: Vitaly Portnikov
Translated by: Yuri Zoria
The speech by the President of the United States, in which he explained the reasons for the new sanctions against Russia and called for an end to the escalation, essentially shows how Biden is going to build relations with Putin.

He’s going to act from the position of strength, which involves the use of sanctions and pressure on the Kremlin. But at the same time, with a dialog that allows Russian President Vladimir Putin to abandon the escalation in exchange for easing the sanctions regime and building normal relations at least on those issues on which the parties can agree.

I have no doubt that Putin will not hear Biden. First, because the very fact of pressure on Russia is perceived by him as a violation of the conditions of “equality.”

After all, Putin’s main idea is to be on an equal footing with world leaders. And it does not matter that Russia’s economic potential is far inferior to that of the world’s leading countries. It’s not really important that Russia’s political weight is based solely on hooliganism, aggression, crimes, and not on actual influence.

Secondly, that’s because, even with all his delusions of grandeur, Putin sees Russia as a victim of Western aggression. And it’s not a joke, not at all. According to Putin, the West has disintegrated the Soviet Union and hinders the reunification of “primordial Russian lands” – namely Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and when the Russians themselves want to recreate their own state, the West imposes sanctions.

Thirdly, it’s due to the fact that Putin sees any offer to talk as a sign of weakness, not strength. He does not understand what constructive dialog is. He is convinced that if one side offers to talk, it means that it is ready to capitulate so he needs to put even more pressure. This applies not only to Zelenskyy. This also applies to Biden.

That’s why there will be no serious US-Russian dialogue. And also there will be no cessation of escalation in the Ukrainian dimension. Putin could only become more careful in order not to disrupt the summit of the presidents of the United States and Russia. But thereafter, he’s going to return to his pressure on Ukraine – whatever the results of the presidential meeting.

And it will continue this way for years, as long as Putin is president and as long as Ukraine exists.

Further reading:

Translated by: Yuri Zoria
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