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Putin’s Adventures

Issue December 2015

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


The third-term elected president of Russia Vladimir Putin had been more than a simple adventurer; what for Putin had been engaged in the military adventures; for the Russians Putin’s adventures had been nothing but the doom’s day; Putin might be seeking his glory and dignity that once the Soviet Union had gained in the world. Every person in the world knew that Russia could not be another Soviet Union but Putin did not want to realize it and he had been taking the Russians to the economic abyss in his bid to be a super power again. In his twenty-year reign Brezhnev led the Soviet Union to such a poor economic status by the time Mikhail Gorbachev came to power he could not hold the Soviet Union together. Was not that Putin had been doing everything to lead the Russians to the economic disaster causing another catastrophe for them again?


Vladimir Putin’s latest military adventure had been to bully the Turkey. He sent his warship his marines carrying the assault missiles pointing at the Turkey. His marines fired warning shots at the fishing boat of Turkey. He had been doing everything to demonstrate that Putin had the power to scare off the Turkey in retaliation to what Turkey had done to Russia shooting down the Russian bomber that had been in a mission to bomb in Syria when it violated the Turkish aerospace. Probably, Putin had not taken the note of the words of US President Barack Obama, “Turkey has its rights to defend its territory.” Also Putin ignored that Turkey had the whole NATO behind it to fight if something went wrong with Putin and it needed to fight. Going beyond the diplomatic etiquette, Putin spoke harsh words against Turkey, according to the BBC NEWS on December 17, 2015.


After Turkey shot down the Russian bomber, and the Syrian rebels killed its pilot while parachuting down, and also brought down the rescue helicopter killing its pilot, Putin said to Turkey, “Never try to do it again,” as if he was disciplining a child. Turkey said that it had warned the pilot violating the Turkish aerospace several times before shooting it down. Thereafter, Putin had been behaving irrationally. Behaving in such a way, probably Putin could not absolutely be the president of the supper power Russia; that was what he ignored.


President Putin had joined the company of international bombers in Syria. As the Islamist State (IS) promised to be the breeding ground for terrorists that would attack the western countries indiscriminately obviously for nothing but being non-Muslim States, France and US had been bombing the IS that had risen out of the war debris in Syria and Iraq. Now UK had joined other western countries to bomb the IS in Syria and Iraq. When the western countries had been bombing the IS, Putin went to bomb the Syrian rebels fighting against both the IS and the despotic President Assad obviously to save the falling Assad, as the rebels coming to power after the fall of Assad would not be so favorable to Putin. However, Putin claimed that his mission was to eliminate the terrorists in Syria, as the Islamist terrorists also posed a threat to his Russia.


Putin had been an opportunist and adventurer, as did his predecessor Peter The Great that built a Russian empire in the 18th century. Peter had reached the border with Finland, and built St Petersburg as a window to Europe. He moved his administrative capital from Moscow to this newly built city not far from the Finnish border; later the Soviets named it Leningrad honoring Vladimir Lenin; Yeltsin renamed it St Petersburg again in 1990s. Now Putin had successfully captured the Crimean portion of Ukraine. Currently, his army had been heavily supporting the Russians rebels fighting in the eastern Ukraine. He had repressed the Chechens with his huge military power. He had not shown any concern for the human rights and no remorse for the loss of human lives. Putin wanted to rebuild another empire from the debris of the fallen Soviet empire anticipating being Putin The Great of the 21st century.


Economically, Putin had put Russia in red. He did not worry about the loss of revenue due to the falling price of oil. The oil price had been down to $35 per barrel. The Russian State revenue must have fallen down to one third, too, as Russia’s main revenue had been primarily the earnings from exporting the oil. Putin must have anticipated that the oil price would remain $100 and above per barrel forever. However, Putin did not mind spending billions of dollars of the oil revenue on capturing Crimea from Ukraine and continuing the fight in the Eastern Ukraine keeping millions of Russians in poverty. Now, he went to bomb Syrian rebels at the cost only Putin knew. He did not want to reveal what cost he had paid for regaining Crimea, and for continuing the war in Ukraine, and now bombing in Syria. It must be billions.


Putin had been making his people more and more economically poor. Even the people having some money could not buy the things they required. Most of the store shelves had been half-empty. Russians had been facing the shortage of daily supplies. Putin did not want to resolve the western sanction on Russia put on place after he went in to Ukraine with his apparently might army. What funny thing he did was he imposed the reverse sanction on the EU and the east European countries, too. Putin put on hold the commercial activities with Turkey stopping the inflow of fresh vegetables and fruits from Turkey to Russia. He sent back hundreds of Turkish workers from Russia. Putin was breaking up the commercial ties with Ukraine and the EU on January 1, 2016. Anybody with a bit of rational thinking power could say how the Russians must have been facing the adverse economic consequences caused by such adventure of Putin.


Russians could not speak out against the Putin administration if they did they would immediately land in jail or would be dead in no time no matter where they were. The world had seen those Russians dared to speak out had been either in jail or in heaven. He sent his agents to kill Russians abroad because they had been working against Putin in Russia. He had shut up the mouths of everybody. Putin had been only the one person in Russia to speak out so harshly and even irrationally against any world leader he did not like.


No matter whether anybody had been millionaire, billionaire, former intelligent agent, newspaper reporter, lawyer or human rights defender would find himself or herself either in jail or in heaven if s/he happened to talk even slightly against Putin. Killing of anybody opposing Putin had been just like killing a fly. Putin had been just like a Czar or a communist dictator that had ruled Russia in the past. He could do anything without the Russian people raising a finger at him.


The Putin administration had been not transparent, as the communist administration had been in the past. Then, Putin and his yeomen had been too smart to enrich themselves keeping majority of Russians in poverty if not in destitute. They could make money as much as the economy permitted them. They were not accountable to anybody but to Putin. Putin had been behaving as if he was not accountable to anybody even though he was democratically elected president. So, Putin needed not be transparent to the people. Was it not a democracy in the Putin style?


No doubt Putin was democratically elected but he did not behave like a leader that needed to go back to the voters. Probably, he knew how to win the elections without being accountable to the voters. Putin had been the political leader as of any corruption-infested country elsewhere in the world. Putin’s administration had been comparable to one of the most corrupt administration of the developing world.


However, Putin wanted to be a leading world figure. He wanted to put him on a par with other world leaders. To this end, he had been squandering billions of dollars keeping millions of Russians in hardship. He had been so naïve or refused to understand that the life of any dictator or a corrupt leader would never be so easy rather would always risk at being toppled and put on trial for corruption. The world had seen the fate of the corrupt dictators of the Middle East countries including Assad of Syria. Putin must have thought that saving Assad would be indirectly saving himself in the corrupt-world administration.


Brezhnev had ruled the Soviet Union for the twenty years from 1960s to 1980s, and ruined it totally. During that period he went to Czechoslovakia to put the communist administration back in place. He went to Afghanistan to sustain the communist rulers there. He went on spending billions on keeping up his communist empire intact but he had drastically failed in developing the economic conditions of the Soviet populace. By the time Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, the economy had been so down, Russians did find hardly anything in the stores to buy. The Soviet treasury had been almost empty. Then, the Soviet Union was led to an end probably untimely.


Poor Gorbachev had nothing to hold on to power. He turned over the Soviet Union to Boris Yeltsin: the then president of the Russia in 1990. Yeltsin simply distributed every Soviet State to the respective State leader keeping the Russia for himself. Thus, the Soviet Union broke up into pieces. That was what Gorbachev allowed Yeltsin to do but it was actually the fallout of the twenty-year rule of Brezhnev, and the seventy-year of the Soviet rule. Brezhnev was lucky to depart from this world before the collapse of the Soviet Union but Gorbachev was still living and enjoying the life of his early retirement in the chaotic Russia.


In the name of democratizing Russia, and privatizing the State-run businesses, Yeltsin enriched himself, his loved ones, his friends and relatives selling the State assets at dirt price. He sold the billions of the rubles worth of State-owned foreign currencies to the private banks owned by his men. Then he devalued the Russian ruble enriching the banks overnight but the State going bankrupt. He created a number of millionaires and even some billionaires keeping millions of Russians in scarcity, as Yeltsin himself and his people looted the common assets of the then Soviet people. Then, Yeltsin chose Vladimir Putin to be his successor, and transfer the power to him on condition that he would forgive Yeltsin for all criminal activities Yeltsin had indulged in as the president of Russia.


Gorbachev had once said that he would be remembered as Lenin because of his glasnost (transparency) and perestroika (reconstruction). No doubt Gorbachev had attempted to open up the Soviet Union for political and economic development. Nikita Khrushchev had attempted it in early 1960s but Brezhnev and his colleagues had punished Khrushchev for it. Khrushchev died in oblivion whereas Brezhnev ruled the Soviet Union for 20 years digging its grave. Gorbachev could be proud of being the man of cremating the Soviet Union that had been the fenced nation of more than 300 million Russians for 70 years whereas Lenin was remembered as the creator of such a walled nation. Putin might be remembered as the adventurer and even as a modern emperor if he managed to live long enough to see the light of that time.


Putin had shut up the mouth of anybody talking against his irrational activities. His tools for staying on in power had been the political corruption, economic corruption and administrative corruption. Anybody talking about any of these things would surely provoke Putin, and invite the wrath of Putin The Great to his or her destruction physically or economically or both. Even the foreign investor had to leave the Putin’s Russia for antagonizing Putin by talking about the corruption and saying he was bringing the corruption to the notice of the world. So, anybody could guess what stage Russia had reached so far.


Russia was and is the resource rich country. Russians could live as the people of the current-day oil-rich Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Emirates and so on had been living letting the people of the world work for them. Unfortunately for the Russians, Czars had exploited Russians as much as possible keeping the people in destitution for centuries. Then, communists came to power promising to make the people prosperous but communists took everything from common folks making them practically the proletariats leaving them only to work hard. Now Putin was grabbing back whatever Russians had made during the last two and a half decades.


Communist leaders had created huge resources for the State and for themselves, too. Leaders had everything but common folks had nothing except for working harder and harder. The Soviet leaders sent a man to the space for the first time in the history of humans to glorify themselves in the early 1960s but the common folks had to stand on a long line for buying a loaf of bread. Common folks were promised a better life but they never had it.


Putin had been gradually taking back some State-owned enterprises Yeltsin had sold out to his near and dear ones, and friends. Putin knew that these enterprises had been the power base for the Soviet leaders in the past. So, he wanted to bring them under his control. Putin had been denying the private ownership of the large business companies. He was trying to kill private businesses. He was trying to put the business clock back. That was what the Putin’s adventures had been.


December 17, 2015


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