SARCASTIC PUTIN OFFERS FIRED FBI CHIEF JAMES COMEY POLITICAL ASYLUM

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared fired FBI chief James Comey’s act of leaking information to media to that of a human rights activist. “Comey’s leak of information to the media was more in line with an activist than an intelligence chief,” USA Today* quoted him saying. Putin said this while holding his annual ‘Direct Line’ Q&A call-in session yesterday.

Comparing James Comey to Edward Snowden, a sarcastic Putin said Russia was ready to grant asylum to Comey in case he is prosecuted for those leaks, “It sounds very strange when the head of the security services writes down a conversation with the commander-in-chief and then leaks it to the media through his friend. How, in that case, does he differ from Edward Snowden?,” The Guardian** wrote quoting him. Edward Snowden, who is facing espionage charges in the US, is a whistleblower and former CIA contractor who leaked US intelligence documents of mass surveillance and was given political asylum by Russia.

Putin added that since Comey’s acts are more like an activist than an intelligence chief, if the latter feels pressured in the US or if he is prosecuted, Russia would be happy to grant him political asylum.

In his testimony, former FBI chief James Comey had said that he intentionally leaked memo on his conversation with Trump to build pressure to appoint special counsel in the case. Comey’s strategy worked after the US Department of Justice appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller special counsel to probe Russian meddling into the last year’s US presidential election.

©SantoshChaubey

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IN TOUGH TALKS WITH PUTIN, MACRON DRAWS RED LINE ON SYRIA

The article originally appeared on India Today.

French President Emmanuel Macron has clearly conveyed to Russian President Vladimir Putin that France will not tolerate any further chemical attack in Syria and doing so will invite serious reprisals from France, an ABC News report said. The presidential talks were held at the Palace of Versailles. “A very clear red line exists on our side, the use of chemical weapons by whomever”, a report in The Sun quoted him saying during his joint press conference with Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a France visit after Macron invited him to inaugurate a major exhibition on France-Russia ties. The exhibition has been organized to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the visit of Peter the Great, the Russian emperor, in 1717.

Relations between France and Russia, two major European as well as global powers, have been strained over Syria and Ukraine. Putin had cancelled his France visit in October 2016 after Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande made it clear that Syria was the only agenda for a France-Russia talks.

Ignoring the global calls for isolating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Putin has been standing firm to support him, morally and militarily. Russian fighter jets pounding Syrian rebels and Islamic State bases are a regular occurrence. Almost all major western nations are against al-Assad. If he is standing tall even after that, it is because of Russian support only. Assad got another big world power in his favour when China, in August 2016, announced to join Russia in providing humanitarian assistance and military training to Syria. Then Syria has Iran’s support. Shiite Iran has a religious connect to defend the Syrian government of Alawites, a Shia offshoot, and strategic interests in defeating Syria’s Sunni rebels.

Also, Russia and Putin have always defended Syria even if the Assad regime has been using chemical weapons against its own citizens. A suspected chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib city on April 4 killed around 100 people after which the US had launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian airbase it thought was used to launch the chemical attack. Russia defended Syria saying Syria did not use chemical weapons and the toxic substances released were stored by rebels where the Syrian forces carried an air strike. In February 2017, Russia and China vetoed a United Nations Security Council Resolution aimed to impose more sanctions on Syria for using chemical weapons.

But intelligence reports say otherwise. A BBC report earlier this month, based on intelligence documents, said Syria was still making chemical and biological weapons at three sites. The report further says that both Russia and Iran are aware of it. Also, a Human Rights Watch report published earlier this month said there was evidence of use of nerve gas by Syria in multiple chemical attacks.

Emmanuel Macron has drawn his red line against this belligerence of Syria. Syria could not have escaped the wrath of the global community had it not been for Russian and Chinese interventions. Macron was a harsh critic of Russia during his campaign days and even if he invited Putin to France, he promised a tough talk with the Russian President and said he would be demanding, a France 24 report said. Macron thinks “dialogue with Russia is vital in tackling a number of international disputes”, the report further said.

©SantoshChaubey

PUTINISM TO ERDOGANISM: CIRCA 2017

Its official now.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the next dictator-cum-strongman of Europe – in fact the only one after Vladimir Putin in Russia.

As ‘Putinism’ is used to describe the dictatorial run of Vladimir Putin, another dictatorial style complete its gestation period today – ‘Erdoganism’ – with his designs for an all power presidency in Turkey.

Today, Erdogan killed the Turkish parliamentary system and gave his coronation as Turkey’s undisputed, unbridled, unchallenged (and hardliner) ruler a presidential makeover. Today, Turkey, the only Muslim country with a modern cultural outlook today completed its journey to become a man’s fiefdom.

Today’s referendum has given unparalleled (and unquestioned) powers to Erdogan. Now he will appoint and sack his cabinet as he pleases. Now he will choose who will deliver justice in Turkey’s courts. Now he will dissolve the parliament, that has already been reduced to a nominal existence, when he feels so.

And it is not without public support. The 2016 Turkish coup against Erdogan failed because public opposed it. And swathes of public could be seen in long shots of Erdogan’s victory celebrations today. He is riding high on a nationalist fervour.

Something that Putinism has done with a panache.

Putin has been ‘democratically’ elected dictator of Russia since 1999, 18 year now and is poised to remain there for decades. Erdogan has ruled Turkey’s power corridors since 2003 and with today’s move, he also cemented with position for decades to come. They both have abused democracy to give democratic sanction to their ruthless power grabbing acts.

The 2016 Turkish coup, in fact, was the last remnant of the secular thought process – the hallmark of the Turkish military once – that saw its disoriented expression on July 15 last year.

Tens of thousands have been arrested and purged and it is still ongoing – with ruthless finesse. It is expected to last till every voice against Erdogan is effectively silenced. Erdogan was doing it for long but the coup (or the failed coup) exacerbated it. With today’s coup, Erdoganism has tried to give it a sort of democratic garb.

Would the European community act? Would the European nations take note of it?

Well, this question was raised every time Putinism displayed itself and it will continue its tradition with Erdoganism, as has been the case when signs became visible that Europe’s next dictator had arrived in Erogan.

The answer never came. Turkey has become the next Russia for Europe. And European nations cannot do anything about it. Today, the only secular Muslim country of the world initiated its journey back to religious fundamentalism under a ruler who is a Islamist and was jailed for hurting Turkey’s secular credentials. Today, the right wing politics prevailed in yet another country.

©SantoshChaubey

ALEXEI NAVALNY, VLADIMIR PUTIN’S MOST FORMIDABLE POLITICAL FOE, DARES HIM AGIN

The article appeared on DailyO.

Here it is bit modified.

Alexei Navalny, who has emerged as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most formidable political foe, has challenged Vladimir Putin again, in spite of the Putin’s ruthless drive to crush political dissent in the country. In an interview published in the Financial Times, Navalny has said that he is determined to contest in the Russian presidential polls due early next year, in spite of being convicted in a fraud case.

Navalny dared Putin after a court in Russia on February 9 revived an old sentence convicting him for embezzlement. The court, though sentenced him with a suspended prison term of five years, dealt a legal blow to his chances for running for the president as Russian law doesn’t allow a person convicted under criminal charges to run for any elected office. The court verdict was seen as a motivated step taken under the Kremlin pressure to remove the only credible name from the Russian Presidential race who could challenge Putin, and as expected, was widely panned by the international community.

Alexei Navalny is probably the most widely known Russian politician globally after Vladimir Putin. He has established himself as the rival pole of the Russian politics in an atmosphere where political dissent is not allowed and the existing political and electoral systems are there only to act as dummies.

Navalny has denied all the charges and even the European Court of Human Rights had found the earlier trial in the case unfair. Navalny plans to build pressure that can force the Kremlin to allow him for the Russian presidential polls. The Financial Times report says quoting him, “We will try to grow support in society until the Kremlin understands that it is necessary to admit me to the elections and the consequences of not admitting me will be even worse.”

It is a strategy that Navalny had adopted during the Moscow mayoral polls in July 2013. Then a guilty conviction for embezzlement had banned him from the mayoral polls. By then, Navalny had emerged as the foremost anti-Putin voice in Russia with an image of a political reformer and anti-corruption crusader and millions were hooked to his blog posts. He led the Russian protests in the aftermath of the Arab Spring mobilizing masses for ‘Russia without Putin’ protest rallies. Protests were organized in many parts of Russia against the continued rule of Putin in the country since 1999 but Putin effectively crushed every dissent after his won the Kremlin again in March 2012.

After protests in Navalny’s support, the court allowed him to run for the polls pending his appeal. It was then seen as done under the Kremlin’s pressure to gauge the public’s mood. Though Putin’s man won the polls, Navalny got over 27% votes. In Russia’s electoral history of rigged polls, it was a jolt for Putin as Navalny had no access to media outlets and he had no funding.

Navalny once again wants to mobilize the public sentiment to build pressure on the Kremlin to the extent that it forces Putin to allow him to run in the presidential polls, even if in the name of giving the electoral process some legitimacy. Navalny is going to open his offices in all big Russian cities within some months. He already has thousands of volunteers to work for his campaign and he is expecting a mass-level mobilization soon and its subsequent repercussion, “By the time we open our 10th campaign office, the level of pushback [from the authorities] will become clear,” he says as the Financial Times report.

But what happened with the Moscow mayoral polls in 2013 will make Putin and the Kremlin to take a tough approach on Navalny’s demands. It was a small bet then. Putin would not like to take that risk when it comes his Presidential bid that would give him Russia again for another six years, completing a silver jubilee for his unbridled rule, from 1999 to 2024.

©SantoshChaubey

NEW ‘RUBRIC’ OF GEOPOLITICS IN A DONALD TRUMP WORLD

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

Geopolitics has always been shaped by few global powers, especially the US so far, even if it has been an increasingly multi-polar world.

But with the recent developments that have revolved around inward looking protectionist and autocratic powers taking central position not just back homes but in the overall flow of geopolitics, the world order is increasingly going to be shaped by four countries and an event, Russia, the US, Britain leaving the European Union (EU) or Brexit and China, the new RUBRIC that will shape the flow of geopolitics in the days to come. RUBRIC with changed evaluations and definitions that would try to outsmart the existing ethos in order to impose their own.

And the rules of this new RUBRIC will be written by their leaders, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the US’ Donald Trump, Britain’s Theresa May and China’s Xi Jinping, with new equations emerging after Donald Trump has taken over the world’s most prosperous and powerful nation.

WHY THEY MATTER

The US still wields enormous military power and if we say it remains unchallenged, especially after the demise of the Soviet Union or the USSR, it will not be exaggerating it. The US is also the world’s largest single nation economy and will remain so with its clout to greatly affect the trade blocks and negotiations.

Though the USSR is no longer there, it left behind a stockpile of nuclear arsenal that makes Russia a strong regional power that exercises considerable influence in Europe and Asia, even if it has had a volatile economy. Add to it the vast energy reserves Russia has that serves as Europe’s lifeline.

China is the world’s second largest economy and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world and is in a position to dictate trade terms with global power centres even if it derided for its one party autocratic system and poor human rights. In terms of purchasing power parity, China is already the world’s largest economy and is a growing military power with increasing clout in space, air, navy and on ground.

Britain, once the reigning colonial superpower of the world with economic and military might, has reduced to being just a small country with no influence to affect the geopolitical matters. Yes, but it remains a symbolic superpower of values that define the existing free democratic world order – free men, free markets and a freer world. And the country is still an economic superpower. Its GDP at 2.29 Trillion USD was at par with India’s GDP of 2.3 Trillion USD in 2016.

TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE IS SETTING THINGS IN MOTION

China has a production model back home that is antithesis of the values that the US and major economies of the free democratic world cherish and promote but nothing stops them or the big transnational corporations from engaging with China. China has absolute protectionism and labour laws heavily tilted in the favour of businesses.

With the new US President Donald Trump’s inward looking and protectionist views that aim to seclude the US economy in domestic shackles, the Asian economic giant is trying to take a global leadership position with Xi Jinping already saying that China is ready to fill the void created by the US.

The US under Donald Trump has effectively dumped the biggest global trade deal proposed, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including 12 Pacific rim countries that already regulate the world’s 40% economic output. China would sure be happy to milk the opportunity that many including Barack Obama, the former US President, tried hard to grab and now believe that going away from it will be suicidal for America’s global dominance.

Trump’s next target is NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and no one knows what comes next. No one knows where he will stop in the name of preventing jobs and businesses from going out of the US and paying back to the countries who he believes have sucked the US wealth. Signs don’t look good. He is threatening businesses with counterproductive measures.

Military and nuclear confrontation with China already looks on the table. Trump has ratcheted up nuclear and military expansion rhetoric quoting Russia and China but while he has always been soft on Putin, hoping for ‘good deals with Russia’, he has never given such indications for Xi Jinping or China. Trump believes that ‘One China’ policy can be negotiated while China considers it blasphemous. Trump calls the Taiwanese leader breaking decades old US tradition and says it is not a big deal. The South China Sea dispute where it’s defiance is directly pitted against the whole world community is another in the series.

Russia is a big military power and big economy of its region of influence in Europe and Asia with an autocratic president in Vladimir Putin who believes in the unbridled run of power, military expansionism and has increasingly displayed a tendency to interfere in the theatres of conflicts like he is doing in Syria. And as Putin is sitting comfortably at home, crushing all the dissent, if he goes about pursuing his global designs, it will be a development that was just about to happen. The erstwhile USSR was one pole of the once bipolar world and Putin has not forgotten that.

And Trump, it looks like, is giving him a chance. He has indicated that he will lift sanctions imposed on Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. The US, so far, led in Syria peace talks but now, it is being led by Russia and Turkey with the latest round of talks between Syrian rebels and government representatives in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital. And experts believe this may be the beginning of the process that can effectively see the US dominance, first in the Middle East and then elsewhere, diminished to a great scale, thanks to the Trump’s policies that aim to make America an island nation, away from geopolitical tumults and thus stakes, away from the values that the US has globally promoted so far, democracy, free markets and human rights.

Britain is also picking signals from Donald Trump, emboldened by his anti-EU tirade. Trump says ‘Brexit will be a great development for the UK’.

Many in Britain fought hard and championed to create the world’s largest economy as a single trading block and single, border-free zone of countries in the form of the European Union (EU) – inspiring the world to create such free zones for men or economies to flow freely. But that is not the case anymore. Britain is leaving the EU, after a bitter referendum, or Brexit, that divided the country. Brexit will make US the world’s largest economic region again. Britain’s new leader Theresa May has said that the legal process for Brexit has already begun and she is looking forward to meet the staunch EU critic and therefore her big admirer Donald Trump this Friday to negotiate trade deals, like she has done with other countries including India. Trump has also predicted, in his inimitable style, that more countries will follow Britain in leaving the EU.

So, the next few months are going to be very volatile and challenging for the existing world order and geopolitical equations. RUBRIC have set things in motion. What happens only future can tell but the flow of geopolitics is going to be dependent on the movements of these four nations and their leaders.

©SantoshChaubey

RUBRICHUS WITH PUMAXIT: BLOCK THAT IS GOING TO SHAPE GEOPOLITICS

Geopolitics is always shaped by few global powers, especially the US so far, even if it has been an increasingly multi-polar world.

But with the recent developments that have revolved around inward looking protectionist and autocratic powers taking central position not just at their homes but in the overall flow of geopolitics, the world order is increasingly going to be shaped by a block of four countries – RUBRICHUS (Russia-Britain-China-US) with their leaders – PUMAXIT (Vladimir Putin-Theresa May-Xi Jinping-Donald Trump).

The US still wields enormous military power. Russia and China are big military powers in their region.

The US is also the world’s largest economy and will remain so with its clout to greatly affect the trade blocks and negotiations.

But then autocratic China is also there with its economic might and a production model back home that is antithesis of the values that the US and major economies of the free democratic world promote.

There is absolute protectionism and labour laws heavily tilted in the favour of businesses. And with that model, China has become the world’s second largest economy. Further, with the new US President Donald Trump’s inward looking and protectionist views that aim to seclude the US economy in domestic shackles, the Asian economic giant is trying to take a global leadership position with its president Xi Jinping saying that China is ready to fill the space vacated by the US.

The US under Donald Trump has effectively dumped the biggest global trade dead proposed – Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with a potential to regulate 40% of the world’s trade. Trump’s next target is NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) and no one knows what comes next. No one knows where he will stop in the name of preventing jobs and businesses going out of the US. But signs are not good. He is threatening businesses with counterproductive measures

Russia is a big military power and big economy of its region of influence in Europe and Asia with an autocratic president in Vladimir Putin who believes in the unbridled run of power, military expansionism and has increasingly displayed a tendency to interfere in the theatres of conflicts like it is doing in Syria. And as Putin is sitting comfortably at home, crushing all the dissent, if he goes about pursuing his global designs, it will be a development that was about to happen. The erstwhile USSR was one pole of the once bipolar world and Putin has not forgotten that.

Britain, once the reigning colonial superpower of the world with economic and military might, has reduced to being just a small country with no influence to affect the geopolitical matters. Yes, but it remains a symbolic superpower of values that define the existing free democratic world order – free men, free markets and a freer world.

Many in Britain fought hard and championed to create the world’s largest economy and single, border-free zone of countries in the European Union (EU) – inspiring the world to create such free zones for men and economies to flow freely. But that is not the case anymore. Britain, under its new leader Theresa May, in a bitterly fought referendum that divided the country, has said that it will exit from the EU and the legal process has already begun.

What happens to RUBRICHUS and PUMAXIT, only future can tell but the flow of geopolitics is going to be dependent on their movements.

©SantoshChaubey

WORSE THAN PROSTITUTES! THATS WHAT PUTIN THINKS ABOUT TRUMP’S DETRACTORS

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that those who are trying to defame US President-elect Donald Trump with unsubstantiated claims are ‘worse than prostitutes’.

According to a report from Russian news agency TASS, Putin has said that ‘prostitution is a serious ugly social phenomenon as young women engage in this also because they cannot provide a worthy life for themselves otherwise and this is largely the guilt of societies and the state. But people who order fakes like this, which are currently being spread against the US President-elect, are fabricating and using them in the political struggle. They are worse than prostitutes’.

Putin was reacting on the claims that the Russian intelligence has compromising material on Donald Trump and Russia may use it to blackmail him in future. An unverified dossier, authored by a former British intelligence officer, made headlines last week with its sensational allegations on Donald Trump of accepting bribes and indulging in sexual favours while he was in Russia. Both, Trump and the Kremlin had dismissed the dossier as fake.

Putin added that the ‘people who ordered such information have no moral restraints whatsoever’.

Saying that Trump has been in showbiz, Putin doubted that ‘Trump fell for girls with reduced social responsibilities’. He said, “Trump is a person who has dealt with organizing beauty pageants for many years and has communicated with the world’s most beautiful women. You know, I can imagine with difficulty such a thing that he immediately headed off for the hotel to meet with our girls of reduced social responsibility”.

Trump had slammed people spreading such rumours and had taken to Twitter to question if John Brennan, the outgoing CIA chief, was behind the leak of the fake news.

‏@realDonaldTrump -.@FoxNews “Outgoing CIA Chief, John Brennan, blasts Pres-Elect Trump on Russia threat. Does not fully understand.” Oh really, couldn’t do…
5:46 AM – 16 Jan 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump – much worse – just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?
5:59 AM – 16 Jan 2017

Donald Trump has indicated that he would take a soft approach towards Russia and would ease sanctions slapped on the country if ‘Moscow decides to work with the US’. There are reports that during first foreign visit of Trump to Iceland, a summit between Putin and Trump is being finalized.

©SantoshChaubey

PUTINISM TO ERDOGANISM!

Is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan going to be the next dictator of Europe – in fact the only one after Vladimir Putin in Russia (and in some post Soviet countries)?

As ‘Putinism’ is used to describe the dictatorial run of Vladimir Putin, are we staring at yet another dictatorial style to emerge – ‘Erdoganism’ – with his designs for an all power presidency in Turkey?

There are both lines of thoughts open right now – that it was a stage-managed coup by Erdogan to cement his position further – or that it was the last remnant of the secular thought process – the hallmark of the Turkish military once – that saw its disoriented expression on July 15. Which way would you want to go?

Over 9300 have been arrested. Though Turkey said today that all those involved in the coup had been arrested, the purge that began on Saturday, is to expected to last till every voice against Erdogan is effectively silenced. Erdogan has been doing it for long but the coup (or the failed coup) is expected to exacerbate it. Let’s see what sort of democratic garb Erdoganism gives it.

If the coup was real – as images of protesting Turkish people suggest – would they (the Turkish people) raise their voice against Erdoganism – if it comes to dictate the Turkish way of life – a clear and present danger now?

Would the European community act? Would the European nations take note of it.

Or will they still admit Turkey in the European Union – after this failed coup – if Erdoganism delivers on the financial front – even if democracy is effectively crushed?

Will Turkey become the next Russia for Europe – or energy politics make them different case studies to handle? Many European nations need Russia’s energy exports – an advantage that Turkey cannot boast.

©SantoshChaubey

OLEG SENTSOV JAILED: WELL, WE ALL KNOW HOW IT IS..

Vladimir Putin has jailed a promising filmmaker, a Ukrainian, for protesting against his ‘illicit’ annexation of Crimea, a province that was part of Ukraine until last year.

Oleg Sontsov, 39, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for ‘plotting arson attacks/attacks’ on ‘Russian’ interests in Crimea.

Well, we all know how it is.

Sentsov, like many others protesting peacefully, in their own possible ways, amid a growing Russian interference in Crimea, were helping the Ukrainian establishment there.

It is immaterial whether the world knows who is Sentsov. What matters is Putinism has had no dents so far, after Russian started facing financial troubles. Incarceration and prosecution of people like Sentsov or members of Pussy Riot or Alexei Navalny or many others or expulsion of the likes of Mikhail Khodorkovsky – Vladimir Putin has, so far, effectively crushed the pro-democracy and anti-Putin voices.

And he has ruthless in his pursuit.

Russia or the central, focal entity of the erstwhile USSR, has been under firm grip of Vladimir Putin since 2000. And going by the years so far, Putin is not going to leave Russia. He was, first, President for two terms. Then he became the Russian Prime Minister, installing a puppet President, thus wielding the real power.

To perpetuate his grip further, he manipulated the Russian Constitution and returned as President again, with increased number of years to his tenure – ‘his’ tenure because Putinism looks set to rule Russia as long as Vladimir Putin is there.

Russia initially revelled with Putin. After all, he had taken the centre stage of Russian politics after a prolonged political unrest that made the country’s social-economic condition a mess. Putin brought order. Driven by strong supply of ‘oil and gas’ money, Russian thought, Putin pushed the country again to the league of forefront nations.

The source of that spirit started drying up with global economic recession. Falling ‘oil prices’ started straining Russian financial streams that gradually gripped the whole country.

And with it, Putinism started unveiling itself. The ‘liberator’ of the Russian population soon found ‘catalysts’ to shed his ‘revivalist’ tag. And today, Vladimir Putin, is a full-time dictator – strengthening his grip on Russia with each passing year – crushing protests – removing/suppressing voices. And oil prices remained muted all this while – dragging Russia in an economic situation where its ‘heavily energy export’ economy had no alternative plans to cushion itself.

Oil prices are still low, and in fact, are projected to slide down to historically low levels, with China slowing down.

But Putin is as busy in devising ways to scuttle voices back home – as he was always. He tries to buy them. He tries to co-opt them. He intimidates them. He silences them.

Annexing Crimea was an important ploy that diverted Russian population’s attention from growing economic failures of his model – a haphazard mess that failed to work beyond a point. By humiliating Ukraine with snatching Crimea from it, Putin bought some support back home.

But Putinism knows such measures are not long lasting, especially when Russia is facing sanctions again – coupled with already low oil prices.

So, he has to keep his fangs sharp always – employing tools to further his dictatorial rule. Sentencing of activists like Oleg Sentsov are just one from his stable.

And what emboldens him is the fact that Russia may not be a big economy now, but it remains among the few dreaded military powers of the world with a nuclear stockpile that can wipe out the entire world.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

PUTINISM ON A ROLL WITH A NUCLEAR TONGUE

Okay, Putinism was always on the roll, though with some rough patches intermittently.

But, it seems the 10 days of break from public life has recharged the world’s most powerful dictator to take on the world again, the world efficiently pressed under his boots and the world that he so eagerly wants to dominate, but is incapable of.

The time after his another stage managed coup to continue on top of everything in Russia has not been good, particularly with his deepening adventures in Ukraine.

Though his bravado, enveloped by his machismo, did earn Russia Crimea and pushed Ukraine to a sustained internal war with rebels, it cost Russia heavily as well.

The meekness of the western world, the European countries and the United States of America, allowed Ukraine to be torn apart, and to save their faces, they resorted to the routine of imposing sanctions.

But even this routine step is proving effective and Russia is reeling under its after-effects.

Russian economy is in bad shape and this derailment may prove out a worse nightmare for Putin than the bad days of ‘toned down economic blitzkrieg owing to the low energy prices’.

The world knows the Russian tiger was running fast fuelled by the oil money and Putinism’s genius had no role to play in it.

Oil prices continue to remain low. And with the Ukraine (mis)adventure, the Russian tiger is increasingly find itself in a quagmire with its pace nailed to a ground that is positioned to remain unstable.

Latest figures show the world a ‘rapid economic contraction’ in Russia, a Reuters report says. Rouble has taken a massive hit and domestic consumption is feeling the heat.

Though the Russian leaders say the ‘worst is over’, the same is not shared by the outside world.

The ‘Crimea Act’ had earned Putin and Putinism brownie points in Russia under the garb of patriotism and nationalism. It was after a long time that Putin enjoyed high popularity ratings and it was in the ‘aftermath’ of his Ukraine calculations.

But the continued downward economic spiral, adding to the bad days of the low oil prices, was a potential trigger to darken the prospects of this ‘patriotic’ Putin. To remain larger than life, Putin needs to push his ‘ultra-patriot macho’ image because this only can give him the leverage to blunt the edge of any potential voice against him in Russia.

Now, since he has crushed the political opposition in Russia, he would like to downplay any development that can give voice to the voiceless political opposition in the country.

But, the developments that can voice another round of political opposition as we saw during 2011-12, during his bid on re-election as the next Russian President (for the third term), are beyond his control – the oil prices and the economic sanctions.

The Russian economy is in shambles and Putin cannot do anything about it. But he can do to make it look normalizing. He needs to create the mirrors of diversions and his experience tells the ‘nationalism of a macho’ can handle it better.

So, after the break that gave rise to colourful conspiracy theories like from fathering a love child to ‘ being ousted in a silent coup by a group of powerful anti-Putinism generals’, he got back with a bang charging the world with his nuclear tongue.

After his ‘surfacing up’ act, he ‘warned’ the world that Russia was all set for a ‘nuclear war’ putting its nuclear forces on alert during Crimea annexation. For the first time, in a voice that would sound ‘heroic’ to the Russians, he admitted that Russian soldiers were in Crimea to take care of referendum and annexation.

Next, his ‘machismo’ found friends in many leaders (read autocrats and dictators, including Kim Jong-Un) to celebrate the 70th anniversary of World War II victory (to be celebrated next month, so time to build up further on the propaganda).

And yesterday, after reappearing act of March 16, Putin threatened Denmark. He threatened Denmark to nuke the ‘warships of the Danes’ if they joined the ‘missile defence shield’ of NATO.

!!

Putinism’s nuclear tongue is on a roll and expect more of his ‘ultra-patriotic-nationalistic-machismo’ speak to colour the pages of geopolitics as Putin’s Russia moves ahead with time trying to address it economic woes.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/