March 22, 2018

Confrontation with the USA and Europe as the Genesis of Putin's Fourth Presidential Term

March 18, 2018, according to the results of pseudo-election in Russia, V. Putin, who will remain in office until at least 2024, again became President of the country. Such a result was absolutely expected, and at first glance does not change anything in or around the Russian Federation. At the same time, changes still take place both internally for Russia and externally, including geopolitical ones.

Thus, Russia has actually reached a qualitatively new level of confrontation with the United States and Europe, which is aimed at implementing Moscow's intentions to restore the distribution of spheres of influence in the world. It was this course that was proclaimed by V. Putin on the eve of the presidential elections in the country at his address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on March 1, 2018. At this, due to Russia's not having economic, political and ideological abilities to compete with the West, it directly relies on military force and the use of “hybrid” wars.

At the same time, the issue of resolving socio-economic problems of the country, which again in a veiled form was acknowledged by Putin in his speech before the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, is actually “frozen”. The reason for this is the Kremlin's actual giving up any hopes for the resumption of positive relations with the West, and, consequently, for lifting of sanctions from Russia and getting Western investments and technologies. Besides, the need to further increase the costs of maintaining the country's military potential is a critical burden for the Russian economy.

The resoluteness and intransigence of the Kremlin's intentions to hold a course of hard confrontation with the West was demonstrated on an example of Russia's special services' use of chemical weapons (neural-paralytic gas) on March 4, 2018 against the former Colonel of the Russian GRU S. Skripal, who had got asylum in the UK. As a result of the chemical attack in the British city of Salisbury, along with a former Russian intelligence officer, his daughter and 21 other people suffered. At this, according to British intelligence assessments, there was a danger of poisoning of many more people which would have extremely dangerous consequences.

In fact, this was the first case of the use of chemical weapons in Europe with a large number of victims after the Second World War, when it was used in Nazi concentration camps for the mass destruction of prisoners. Until recently, such actions by the Russian intelligence services had a selective (point) character with the use of other substances, in particular, radioactive polonium-210, for the murder of former FSB officer V. Litvinenko in November 2006 in London.

Thus, Putin's regime showed that it not only has weapons of mass destruction and means of it delivery (as declared by the President of the Russian Federation in his address to the Federal Assembly), but will not hesitate to use it. Especially because he has nowhere to retreat. This way or other, the current leadership of Russia and personally V. Putin will be forced to answer for Chechnya, for Georgia, for Ukraine, and for Syria.


All this was perceived by the West as a direct threat to its security and a direct challenge from the Russian Federation. At the same time, instead of scaring the United States and Europe, on what Russia was counting, the actions of the Putin regime only strengthened the unity of the West in confronting Moscow's aggressive policy. At this, firm intentions were shown to provide an adequate response to the Kremlin. Thus, the United States, NATO and leading EU countries have expressed readiness to protect their security under all circumstances. At the same time, Russia's use of chemical weapons in Salisbury was seen as a threat to the sovereignty of Great Britain, which is an actual continuation of Moscow's attacks on Georgia and Ukraine. Proceeding from this, preparations for a new set of sanctions against Russia began. In particular, according to the British leadership, a thorough investigation will be conducted on the origin of V. Putin's environment's and personally of the Russian President's assets on the British territory with the possibility of their further “freezing” or even confiscation.


On the whole, the above-mentioned processes make the limited “cold” war between Russia and the West, which arose after the beginning of Moscow's armed aggression against Ukraine, turn into a full-scale confrontation. In fact, the level of such confrontation is the sharpest since the Caribbean crisis in 1962 and the USSR's sending its troops to Afghanistan in 1979. Both then and now, both sides are taking active steps to build and demonstrate their military capabilities, including in the missile and nuclear sphere. Given the irreconcilability of the positions of Russia and the United States, the confrontation between them with high probability will continue until the exhaustion of one of the parties, which will force it to make concessions.

To date, the USA and EU sanctions have already forced Moscow to fully use its Reserve Fund to support the Russian economy and move to spending the National Welfare Fund, which remains the only source of maintaining relative stability in the country. According to the Federal Budget Law for 2018 and the planned period 2019–2020, the money of the last of the Russian funds, and hence the possibility of further deterring the crisis in the Russian economy, will be exhausted in two years. Proceeding from such prospects, Moscow will be raising the “bar” of confrontation with the USA and Europe in order to force them into concessions, including through nuclear and other types of blackmail. At this, the continuation of Putin's presidential term for the next six years actually “unleashes his hands” to intensify such actions, despite the worsening of domestic problems in the country.


In the current situation, Ukraine will remain in the center of the confrontation between Russia and the West. Further development of Russian-American and Russian-European relations will depend on the resolving of the Ukrainian issue. First of all, this concerns the settlement of the conflict in the Donbas. In case if Ukraine and its Western partners maintain a solid position on this issue, the possibility of deterring the neo-imperial policy of Russia will be preserved. At the same time, the level of rivalry between Russia and the USA and Europe will also increase. Otherwise, Moscow will be able to realize its strategic goals for the distribution of spheres of influence in the world and establishment of its control over the countries of the former USSR as the first stage in the construction of the Eurasian geopolitical paradigm (according to the theories of Russian geopolitics, in particular A. Dugin, which are practiced by Putin's regime).

Given these circumstances, we may expect intensification of Russia's efforts on the Ukrainian direction, aimed at: at least restoration of the pro-Russian government in Ukraine; as a maximum — a complete disintegration of the Ukrainian state. In case of Moscow's success: in the first case, it will have the opportunity to resolve in its favor the conflict in the Donbas and return Ukraine to its sphere of influence; in the second — to exclude the Ukrainian issue from a circle of international problems completely. It is at this that are aimed Russia's actions to destabilize the situation in Ukraine by supporting and initiating tall types of protests of populist forces, including those that are masked by the national Ukrainian movements. Similarly, Russia will build up its efforts to undermine the unity of the Western world — first of all, the EU and relations between the United States and Europe.

Can we oppose anything to this? Of course we can. Ukraine has already got united around the idea of a revival of the Ukrainian nation, which allowed it not only to stop Russia's aggression, but also to become an example for other countries of how to confront Moscow's expansion. Moreover, the whole civilized world is supporting Ukraine.

In fact, to date, the United States, NATO and the EU have already assumed responsibility for the future of our state. For example, in September last year, the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement entered into full force, which opened for Ukraine the way to the European Union, and in March, 2018 NATO recognized Ukraine's status of an “aspirant country”, which opened the door for it to the North Atlantic Alliance as well.

As for Russia, the actions of the Putin regime not only do not allow it to reach the status of a really great power, but on the contrary, it has in fact transformed it into a pariah state on a par with North Korea and Iran. In this regard, the comments on the presidential elections in Russia in the government media of the country are rather indicative. In particular, one of the first such comments was the announcement that 100 % of Russian citizens, who are in the territory of the DPRK, voted.

According to the Central Election Commission of Russia, about 76.7 % of peoples voted for V. Putin. Thus, they not only themselves have chosen their future, but also shared with the Putin regime the responsibility for all the negative consequences of its actions, both for the Russian Federation itself and for the whole world.

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