Borysfen Intel

“Roadside Picnic”

April 10, 2018
<p>“Roadside Picnic”</p>

“Loneliness of the Half-Blood”, as the future of Russia under V. Putin's regime

August 2, 2017, US President D. Trump signed the “Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” which provides for introduction of new sanction restrictions against Russia, North Korea and Iran. In accordance with the Law, at the end of January 2018, the US Treasury Department submitted to the US Congress the so-called “Kremlin Report”, namely, the list of high-ranking Russian officials and businessmen close to RF President V. Putin, as well as individuals from his environment. This created a direct threat to the economic interests of the upper echelon of the oligarchic circles of Russia, directly linked to its supreme leader, and hence his policy.

The new US law and measures for its practical implementation caused a rather ambiguous reaction in the Russian Federation. Thus, at the official level, the United States' actions were traditionally condemned by the Kremlin as “brutal” and “inadequate” and being “a violation of international law”. At this, as always, the Kremlin argued about the inability of Western sanctions to cause real harm to the Russian economy, the absence of oligarchs in Russia, and especially those associated with Putin, and even — about the purely formal approach of the US, which allegedly included into the “Kremlin Report” the entire Forbes list, covering the richest people in the world.

More adequate positions were taken by the people from the list, who immediately understood the real danger to their businesses. In view of this, at the beginning of this year, their secret  representatives started visiting the United States to negotiate with the Russian lobby in the US Congress and the US Department of State on the issue of avoiding sanctions. And after the quite expected failure of such negotiations, in February–March this year, Russia's oligarchs, who were already facing significant problems with their reputational losses in the American and world business community, went to the United States themselves.

Despite this, the United States has never made any concessions, which has once again confirmed the firmness of the country's position in pursuing a tight policy of containment of Russia's neo-imperial ambitions. Thus, against the background of D. Trump's bold statements about his willingness to meet with V. Putin at the White House in early April, the US government has expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the country in connection with the case of S. Skripal, and imposed additional sanctions on Russian oligarchs.

As a result of such USA's actions, the stock market of Russia collapsed on April 9, 2018 (including Moscow Exchange — by 9 % and RTS — by 12 %), resulting in the loss of over 11.7 billion US dollars by the 50 richest Russian tycoons.

Among them, the closest friends and associates of Putin, who are the backbone of his government and control the bulk of the Russian economy, came off the worst. In particular, O. Deripaska (owner of Rusal and En +) lost 1.6 billion US dollars — a quarter of its wealth, S. Kerimov — 1.5 billion US dollars, V. Potanin (owner of “Norilsk Nickel”) — 1.3 billion US dollars, V. Alekperov — 1.2 billion US dollars, V. Vekselberg — 980 million US dollars. Significant losses were also incurred by L. Mikhelson — 665 million US dollars, G. Timchenko — 631 million US dollars, V. Lisin — 617 million US dollars, A. Mordashov — 580 million US dollars and R. Abramovich — 558 million US dollars.

In addition, shares of the Russian Sberbank fell by 13.04 %, of Rosneft — by 11.04 %, of Novatek — by 11.4 %, of metallurgical company Mechel — by 31.99 %.

All this became a “cold shower” for the Russian authorities and made them take a practical view of the situation. In this context, a true “cry from the heart” was the article by V. Surkov, Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation (one of the main Russian “hawks”) — “Loneliness of the Half-Blood” in the journal “Russia in Global Affairs”, which can be considered the bottom line and political will of the Putin regime.

The main essence of the article is the statement of the fact of the failure of Russia's entire policy through all its history — from attempts to continue the policy of the Mongol-Tatar Golden Horde (as its actual successor) to the pro-Western course of the country, which False Dmitry, Peter I and their followers up to V. Putin at the beginning of his presidential career, tried to lead.

Proceeding from this, it is concluded that Russia needs to choose a different, “third way” of development on the principles of “the third type of civilization”, “third world” and “third Rome”. At the same time, for the first time at the level of the state leadership of the Russian Federation, is acknowledged Russia's inability to pursue such a course due to its loss of both its economic potential and its partners and allies. In V. Surkov's words, “Russian cultural and geopolitical affiliation resembles the wandering identity of a person born in a mixed marriage. Such a person is everyone's relative, but no one's family. Treated by foreigners like none of their own, and an outcast among his own people”.

That's the end of the plans for creating a “Russian World”, which have led to Russia's conflict with the whole civilized world. Proceeding from this, as V. Surkov correctly concludes his analysis of the situation around Russia, its only hope remains military force. Lack of alternatives to such a paradigm was recognized by the Russian Emperor Alexander III in the 19th century, demonstrated by the communist leaders of the USSR in the 20th century and confirmed by the leader of the new Russia, V. Putin, in the 21st century.

Of course, V. Putin will partially compensate Russian oligarchs for their loss as a result of new US sanctions. He still has some reserves, although they are also coming to an end. After Russia has spent the last money from the Reserve Fund, it will have only the National Wealth Fund, which is planned to be spent within the next two years. The consequence of this will be Russia's losing its GDP (gross domestic product) because of the lack of the possibility of further holding the Russian economy on financial doping. By the way, Russia's other VVP (Rus. for GDP is VVP) — V. V. Putin (who today remains the only guarantee not only of the financial wealth of the Russian ruling elite, but also of its physical survival) is not eternal either.

There is nothing else, only “a century of isolation of Russia”, as it was acknowledged by V. Surkov. Indeed, the “roadside picnic” — an “alpha nation”, a “great world power”, but in fact — paria and a half-blood, sitting on the side of the road of the rest of the world in a company with Iran and North Korea. But then, in the face of such prospects, they have already taken steps to break the “vicious circle”. An indication of this was Tehran's consent to let international observers to its nuclear facilities, which allowed Iran to have the UN sanctions lifted. In turn, Pyongyang under the sanctions pressure has also agreed to a dialogue on its nuclear and missile program. One way or another, but sooner or later Russia will have to make the same choice — with VVP in all the meanings of this abbreviation or without it on the debris of the “Russian world”.

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