Saturday 25 January 2020

'Putin, a once in a hundred years political phenomenon'

Commentators have often speculated on whom Putin was grooming as his successor. We now have the answer: no one. And this is a wise approach to the issue, because no one in Russia would be capable of filling the shoes of Vladimir Putin, who is a once in a hundred years political phenomenon. And so the shoes to be filled in 2024 and thereafter have been downsized via the power sharing provisions of the proposed constitutional reforms.

I thank my very loyal reader Toma, who provides such excellent quotations in the comments on this blog, for providing this one from Gilbert Doctorow

Vladimir Putin will not yield power, which would mean he would easily end up put in prison or blackmailed by a successor, as he blackmailed his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, by threatening to investigate his corruption. But Mr Putin, objectionable though he is, like Donald Trump, same caveat, is a very remarkable political phenomenon. 

In some ways he is a Russian De Gaulle. He has raised Russians' morale and self-esteem a long way at a critical moment. He has also provided order, something Russians have craved throughout their history.

General De Gaulle's legacy, despite his fierce hostility to Arabs in numbers settling in metropolitan France, is a France in which they did just that. The Algerian withdrawal was followed by an Arab migration into France and Europe and by a repetition, after a pause of forty years, of the terrorism that drove the French from Algeria. Despite his wishes his idea of a "Europe de pays souverains" seems to have been defeated by integration.

We cannot guess Mr. Putin's legacy but most statesman can say at the end of their lives like Churchill, 'I have achieved much to achieve nothing at all'.

Brendan Simms thinks Mr. Putin is a danger to the EU externally and domestically. He is neither. Why should he be a danger to the EU at home? Because he is giving money, Dr Simms thinks, to identitarians and nationalists. In fact, as I heard Michael Clarke, the Director-General of Chatham House say at the Ion Ratiu centenary festival in Cluj, the West and the Russians spent enormous amounts of money and energy during the Cold War trying to influence each other's populations without any effect whatever and the same is true today.

I am sure this is true but Russian money makes a good bugbear for people who fear a return of the nation state. If Putin did win a few votes for Leave in the referendum or weakened Angela Merkel's or Hillary Clinton's popularity a little, good for him, but I don't believe it. 

Mr Obama and the unimpressive woman who runs the IMF tried to win votes for Remain but a poll showed that their interventions, made at George Osborne's request, won quite a few votes for Leave. I doubt if even the Pope telling Mr. Trump that it was wrong to build walls (an odd thought) swang a single vote.


  1. Vladimir Putin will not yield power

    I certainly hope he doesn't yield power. Once he goes Russia is most likely doomed. It's also likely that Europe is doomed once he goes.

    1. All flesh is grass. I see no reason to agree with the first limb of your comment - who knows the future? - please explain the second.

    2. please explain the second.

      Without Putin's Russia to provide some counter-balance to the Americans Europe will end up entirely as an American political and cultural vassal. As countries like Australia and Britain already are.

      Putin's Russia is just strong enough to prevent the Americans from descending into complete babbling insanity. They are insane, but without Russia they'd be a lot more insane.

      Without Putin as a balance to the US Eastern Europe is certainly doomed. Nations like Hungary and Poland will be brought savagely into line and forced to embrace open borders and every other variety of liberal globalist madness. The Eastern Europeans for the most part hate the Russians but it's the existence of Russia that gives them a small chance of cultural survival (a very small chance but still a chance).

  2. Putin is hung up on Russia's pre1989 status as a great power. Many younger people don't share this obsession, have been exposed to societies that work better than Russia does, and would like to see some changes. Putin will only leave office as a corpse, so they will have to wait.

    1. In Russia, as in the West, the progressive young prepare to take the stage, but in Russia I am told most young people are not so very progressive and are very racist and very patriotic. Though a Russian told me his compatriots now hide their racism because they know it is not Western and therefore uncool.

      Still Russians who travel come back saying how much better things are in the West. One Russian on Twitter whom I follow said Russians come back saying that if they have been to Poland or other Eastern European countries but not if they return from multiracial Paris or London. I have no idea where the truth lies. It depends whom you meet and talk to.

    2. Many younger people don't share this obsession, have been exposed to societies that work better than Russia does

      I suspect that the young Russians with the most enthusiasm for the West are the ones who have never experienced the cesspit of the modern West at first hand.

  3. The West is pretty good. The whole world wants to come to it.

  4. Russia - or rather, the Soviet Union's propaganda machine - influenced Western opinion strongly. Marxist dogmas are very popular in the West, liberation theology produced a Pope, many believe a conspiracy theory about the US creating the AIDS virus in a laboratory (a KGB "fake news" story planted in a friendly newspaper), etc. The ideals which made the West prosper (individual freedom, respect for private property rights, the Christian tradition) have all eroded - in no small part due to the efforts of the Soviet Union and its Trotskyist emigres who unwittingly took their philosophy abroad.