Posted by: mulrickillion | October 25, 2011

Libyan Lessons For Putin’s Russia

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Tunnel where former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured (Source: The Sun).

By Pavel K. Baev, Eurasia Daily Monitor, Vol. 8, Iss. 196, Oct 24, 2011 —

The poignant comment by John McCain that dictators all over the world “may be a little bit more nervous” after the death of Muammar Gaddafi has generated sharp resonance in Russia because the outspoken US Senator named Vladimir Putin among the dictators in question (Moskovsky Komsomolets, RBC Daily, October 21). Putin’s press-secretary Dmitry Peskov suggested that McCain was “very tired,” while a pack of “patriotic” Duma deputies added every insult they could invent; and even Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov felt obliged to note that the “exotic comment” revealed McCain’s particular “phobias” and “quirks” (Ekho Moskvy, RIA Novosti, October 21). The fact of the matter is that the Russian leadership does look quite nervous executing the long-drafted but distinctly dubious plan for securing a new presidential term for Mr. Putin, while rewarding Dmitry Medvedev with the position of Prime Minister and the privilege of leading the United Russia party machine to a guaranteed victory in the tightly controlled parliamentary elections.

Denying any connection, the master of Russian bureaucracy and his side-kicks are at the same time trying to act on the lessons from the Libyan as well as Egyptian regime failure, and the first of those concerns the need to maintain the legitimacy of the sultanist political order. Medvedev meets with carefully selected “supporters” almost daily trying to explain away his timid step down and failing to impress that his “modernization” rhetoric still makes some sort of sense (Novaya Gazeta, October 17; Ekho Moskvy, October 21). Putin shows no inclination to console the mainstream liberals, who had hoped that his regime could be reformed “from above” and seeks to strengthen his support base among the “workers and peasants,” who believe his promises to protect their wages and pensions (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 18). His confidence in buying the loyalty of the “ordinary people” by granting some more social disbursement of petro-revenues shows that one important lesson from Libya is lost: the urban middle classes could become fed up with a dictator even if he is generous in providing free lunches (www.gazeta.ru, October 20). . . .

The Jamestown Foundation: Libyan Lessons For Putin’s Russia

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