The man, who came to power in Russia 20 years ago, never wanted and will not be able to give it up. Putin became a hostage of the system that they have created themselves, says Christian Trippe.
Spring election 2000 campaign was short and not exciting. Vladimir Putin was able to virtually without interference and restrictions of air time to deliver their messages on all the Federal channels. A former KGB officer promised then to establish in Russia a dictatorship – the dictatorship of the law. Russia is a rich country with poor people, he said. And the question about what country in the world is his role model, he replied Korea. Which of the two Koreas he was referring to the democratic tiger in the South or a totalitarian state in the North – Putin, however, is not explained. In all likelihood, he liked jokes, who immediately began to go about it.
In those March days 20 years ago, nobody doubted the victory of Putin, but many at the time still had illusions about him. The country’s new President was supposed to be a little awkward, almost shy man from St. Petersburg. Powerful behind-the-scenes elite have agreed on his candidacy and on the night of the election, boasted of their “administrative reserves”.
And Putin has done what was expected of him – and, in the West, just as in Russia: it stopped the process of weakening the Russian state, has already reached the stage of collapse in some regions of the vast country. He stabilized the Russian society, which after the defeat in the cold war for ten years was in free fall – as in mental and social terms. And Putin promised its international partners that they wanted to hear. For this, the then German Chancellor Gerhard schröder (Gerhard Schr?der) called him a “Democrat”. It was a mistake.
Putin turned away from the West and its values
From the outset, many have indicated that Putin will not go the way of rapprochement with the West, which sometimes is not without hesitation – including in the truest sense of the word – elected his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin.
Putin immediately put the independent media under state control, this situation persists to this day. Under the pretext of the struggle against the oligarchs, who enjoyed widespread approval, Putin has destroyed a viable commercial media companies. Two years later, all was clear where the road leads: active citizenship has become the unwanted, and the party was allowed to participate in the political life of the country only as a “system” opposition.
Even then the process was started, which now is manifested in the announcement of the criminals and all who protested against Putin’s policies. Anyone who speaks against the manipulation of elections, corruption and stagnation in a country can quickly obtain on the back with a rubber truncheon.
The construction of the new Russian Empire
And lately – since, as foreign policy was openly neo-Imperial – in the style of Putin’s rule, there were some signs of a cult of personality. Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, followed by Russia, provoked armed conflict in the Donbass military operation in Syria, Putin’s Russia is trying to regain the status of world superpower. The President clearly like that since then, Pro-Kremlin public call him “a national leader”. A senior official in 2014, Putin even identified with the whole country. Without Putin, saying that Russia will not happen – this is the essence of the slogan of his supporters.
This in vivo construction of Putin in the face of political saints could follow only the extension of his term until the end of life. It’s as cynical as it is logical. For the Kremlin political strategists make the necessary amendments to the Constitution through a referendum is only a formality. In the semi-official campaign before conducting the popular vote, the term “stability” is no coincidence plays a key role.
When Putin in March 2015, a few days did not appear in public – he just disappeared, and it is still unclear why Moscow was plunged into a kind of stupor. Putin’s system of governance suggests that the President fulfills the role of Supreme arbiter, checking and balancing the interests of Kremlin heavyweights vying for power, and makes decisions about the allocation of public revenues. From this point of view Putin is a hybrid of the General Secretary of the Communist party and a feudal Prince.
Personal perspective of Putin
In this sense, Putin’s henchmen are right: without it, the system will not work without it it will collapse. However, its collapse in the first place would affect someone whose name is connected with creation of the current government. Thus, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, perhaps, doomed to end his days doing what he was doing for the past 20 years, namely, to remain President of his country. Of the country he first asked a vector of development, but for a long time is not run for the benefit of its citizens and it is clearly to the detriment of neighbouring countries.
One Western politician once asked Mr Putin how he imagines his life in retirement – after stepping down as leader of the country. According to him, Putin has not responded to this question. Stability which even in the West, despite political differences with the Kremlin, is still considered a key achievement of the long presidency, Putin turns out to be a Chimera. Like his ambiguous remarks on the eve of the first election 20 years ago.