The WSJ: Pressure on Russian economy can overthrow Putin

12 december 2014 | 11:30

A columnist writes that the Russian president's aggressive policy will not keep him in power and feed the Russians.

Владимир Путин
Putin's tough policy will not develop Russia
The Western reaction on Russian aggression against Ukraine seems too soft and not decisive, while Vladimir Putin is occupying the Crimea and wages war in industrial Donbas.

Josef Joffe, the publisher of the German Die Zeit newspaper writes about this on The Wall Street Journal pages. He notes that Putin maneuvers and chooses moments to pause and to prevent further escalation with the West, and to gather strength at the same time.

Read more: Obama is not for further sanctions against Russia

This is what already distinguishes Putin's radical foreign policy from the Soviet. Russian President did not act like the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, and did not place nuclear missiles in Cuba close to the US. In general, the author questions the effectiveness of the aggressive policy in the modern world.

"Currently, the hard power of the XIX century design struggles with the modern soft power. It seems like the hard power has an advantage, but we do not need to give up on soft power which is solely based on economic strength" – the article says.

The columnist recalls that imperialism is largely dependent on oil prices. And the conflict in Ukraine shows that this dependence threatens president Putin.

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"Oil prices had reached its historic high of $ 145 a barrel two months before Putin invaded Georgia. When he annexed the Crimea in March this year, oil was at $ 111 per barrel," – writes the columnist.

But now, when the cost for the barrel of "black gold" collapsed below $ 65, Russia "again looks like unprotected Third World country with the nuclear bomb."

At the same time, Putin unleashed the conflict in Ukraine to strengthen support for his regime, by showing muscles. Such a move, according to the author, will not help him for too long.

"You can't feed people with the hostility, just as it is impossible to become a developed economy, by moving on the way of kleptocracy. Imperialism, maintained due to the sale of raw materials is standing on a shaky basis" – the author argues.

Nevertheless, the Western sanctions only are not enough against Russia. To collapse the USSR, "leaders such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Helmut Kohl were needed."

Russian faced economic troubles after the collapse of oil prices and sanctions from the West. The Russians started to buy less, and refused from going abroad on vacations. Food prices have increased. A shortage of buckwheat caused panic. At the same time, Putin's "friends" income increased after the sanctions introduction.

Source: ZN.UA

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