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Putin Has Stumbled in Ukraine

Published: August 13, 2014 (Issue # 1824)




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Fifteen years ago onAug. 9, 1999, President Boris Yeltsin stunned Russia with his televised announcement ofVladimir Putins appointment as prime minister, as well as his characterization ofthe new appointee as his successor.

Whatever themotivations behind this choice, it turned out tobe theright one. It was amatter ofhonor forthe second president toshow his personal loyalty andfulfill his obligations tothe first president.

But most importantly, after theupheavals ofthe 1980s and90s, Putin was just thekind ofleader people wanted: not brilliant, but dependable, capable offinally bringing theendless chaos toa close andensuring thereturn ofhope forthe future. Putin, whom few initially considered anappropriate fit forpolitics, consolidated Russian society around theidea ofstability.

Stability inthe 2000s didnt mean stagnation or preservation (there wasnt anything atthat point topreserve); it meant action. Toachieve stability, it was necessary totake aseries ofmeasures torestore themanagement ofthe country, lay afoundation foreconomic development andgive people asense ofpurpose not through abig project (not really Putins forte), but through actively building andimproving their own lives.

But Putin arrived under thebanner ofstability atthe same time that stability was coming toan end inthe world atlarge. He came topower atan uncertain time, against abackdrop ofan eroding world order. This contradiction between internal goals andexternal conditions gradually became more andmore apparent.

TheWest sees Russias president as anenemy ofprogress, asymbol ofoutdated viewpoints andold-fashioned approaches. He, meanwhile, expresses his astonishment atthe policies ofleading nations, which seem tobe almost intentionally adding fuel tothe fire ofinternational conflicts. Faith inthe possibility ofa major deal with theWest, andRussia joining thecircle ofleading nations, has weakened, although Putin did see it as possible when he first took office.

But after Putins return topower in2012, he saw theWest, primarily theUnited States, as themain destabilizing force inthe world. This wasnt due toanti-Russian sentiment inWashington or Brussels (Putin considered that obvious inany case), but tothe Wests thoughtless andarrogant interference inone situation after another, destroying thefoundations ofnational governance.

Many outside observers are sure that Putin is acunning strategist, his actions governed bya larger idea: planned expansion, restoration ofan empire, strengthening theso-called power vertical, areturn tothe Soviet Union, anti-liberal measures, etc.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 22


Russian Premier League-leaders Zenit St. Petersburg return from the international break to take on Kuban Krasnodar at Petrovsky Stadium this evening at 7 p.m. Tickets for the game can still be purchased on the clubs website, at the Petrovsky Stadium box office or in any of the clubs merchandise stores.



Sunday, Nov. 23


Get in the holiday spirit at todays Winter Bazzar at the Astoria Hotel. Featuring gifts from around the world such as French eclairs, Dutch cheeses and Indian jewelry, the annual event organized by the International Womens Club will feature 18 international stands and raise money for charity through the sales of a diversity of products that further illustrate the citys international connections.



Monday, Nov. 24


Dr. Axel Schulte, Department Head at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, is the featured speaker at the SPIBA Industrial Committee lecture on The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Digitalization of the Supply Chain. The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Graduate School of Management at 3 Volkohvsky Pereulok and registration is required by Nov. 21 either by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.



Tuesday, Nov. 25


Tag along with AmCham during their Industrial St. Petersburg Tour program today. This incarnation of the ongoing series will visit Philip Morris Izhora and include an Environmental Health and Safety Committee meeting.


Find out how to expand your business east during the Business With China forum beginning today and concluding tomorrow at the Lenexpo convention center. The largest Russian forum dedicated to business with the Asian giant, topics that will be discussed include logistics, customs clearance, trade financing and many more.



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