October 24, 2015

The Price to Pay for Lifetime Presidency

The Kremlin's seeking a new paradigm of external and internal policies in order to prevent the destruction of Putin's model of governing Russia, has naturally led to the continuation of the strategy of blitzkrieg. With Russian aircrafts and cruise missiles now, there has started a “state” construction of the “Alawite People's Republic” in the Eastern Mediterranean and protection of the “friendly people” against external threats.

Moscow strategists, fearing the loss of their last Russian great-stronghold in the Middle East after the failure of the project of “Novorossia” and the West's having not lifted/mitigated its sanctions, as well as feeling a real threat that partners will abandon a number of projects strategically important for the Russian Federation (“Power of Siberia” — China, “Northern Stream-2” — the EU, “Turkish Stream-2” — Turkey), had to change the foreign policy vector of the “main attack”.

Despite the formal “success” of United Russians at the regional elections on September 13, 2015, ​​ the Russian Presidential Administration is well aware of both, the fast growth of the federal budget deficit (more than 1 trillion rubles) and the steady increase (as compared with 2014) in the number of Russian citizens who believe that Western sanctions are directly affecting their personal well-being, and that the annexation of the Crimea brought more harm than benefit to Russia. Besides, 72 % of the Russian population strongly does not support Russia's direct invasion into Ukraine. At the same time, 66 % of Russians, according to the latest data of the National Center for the study of public opinion, allegedly support V. Putin's decision on the “Syrian campaign” and sending the Russian Navy and Air Force there.

In the Kremlin, they have come to the conclusion that, taking into consideration the above-mentioned trends and threats, the internal “reconciliation” of the Russian society will be achieved with the help of another exacerbation of the foreign policy course.

From the “Lubyanka's (KGB) vaults” they had taken out and revived the known since the Soviet-era “Doctrine of Selective Support of Muslims”, first of all, of the Middle East, that are fighting against Israel and pro-Western governments. At the same time it has been “updated” by the explanation that it is necessary to struggle against the latest global challenge — a radical Islamist terrorism. And thus they got a “new product” fit for domestic consumption, and for justifying the use of Russian naval, aerospace and airborne troops far outside the Russian Federation “... to protect the national interests of the Russian state and the Russian people,” which V. Putin himself called the “... stabilization through military means of the legitimate regime [in Syria] and creation of conditions for a political compromise”. The analogy with the East of Ukraine suggests itself, doesn't it?

http://politikus.ru/articles/58994-raketa-kalibr-rossiyskiy-ispepelitel-po-klassifikacii-nato.htmlMoreover, the Caspian Flotilla's provocative exterritorial strike with cruise missiles “Caliber” was demonstratively used by V. Putin show the “partners” from 11 countries which already “... participate in making various attacks on Syrian territory without the UN Security Council's decision and the Syrian Arab Republic's authorities' request” and that Russia has air-launched missiles with a destructive range of 4500 km. The Kremlin propaganda, especially television, managed to have timely drawn concentric circles of “reach range” from the Baltic Sea (Kaliningrad), Black Sea (Sevastopol) and the Caspian Sea and the bases of the Russian Navy in the Pacific, which cover the whole of Europe, Middle East, South-East Asia and North Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada.

Taking into consideration such a “modernization” (“transformation”) of Moscow's foreign policy, as well as the recent steps taken by Russia in the Middle East, analysts and experts of “Borysfen Intel” single out the following V. Putin and his environment's inter-related “external” motivations.

First of all, today the United States and Europe are increasingly inclined to definitely reduce the existing military and political priority of Eastern European course of action, especially in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, through the reorientation of the official Washington to the regions that Russia does not consider its sphere of direct influence, including, to the Middle East.

The Kremlin, not without reason, also believes that in this way it will significantly influence the USA's individual allies among both, the EU member states (Germany, France, Italy), and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, and eventually will be able to “break through” the international isolation of Russia, including to mitigate the sanctions regime. In particular, according to the Russians, the escalation of tensions in Syria will provoke a new wave of refugees to Europe, which, in turn, will lead to the growth in popularity of European right-wing parties advocating closer ties with Russia.

Besides, Russia, seeking to maintain its influence in Syria — actually the only Middle East country that abides in the “orbit of the Kremlin” — is trying to find a political solution that would be an argument in its negotiations with the West within the framework of their geopolitical rivalry.

Putin's apologists are counting also on the “rapprochement” with influential regional players — Iran and Egypt. The goal is to make Iran give greater support to B. Assad, and thus to return Tehran into the orbit of Russian influence, without actually giving the IRI an opportunity to improve its relations with the West after reaching an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. If successful, this, together with the escalation of tension in the SAR, will lead to the growth of world oil prices so much needed by Russia. Well, the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah al-Sisi can provide a platform for talks on “political and diplomatic solution to the Syrian issue” and achieving “the Middle East” (by analogy with the notorious “Minsk”, but now actually “Cairo”) agreements on termination or “freezing” of the conflict in Syria.

The Kremlin regime's “internal” motivation is attributed by the analysts to containing the spread of the influence of the “Islamic State” in Russia and Central Asia, which is a real threat to the Russian Federation's national security, as well as to the possibility of obtaining domestic dividends and positive image effects for Putin as a leader, returning Russia's status of a great state thanks to the competition with the United States in the Middle East.

However, although Russia's resources for the war on several fronts (“Ukrainian”, “Syrian”, “gas”, “oil”, “substitution of Western technologies, goods and products”) are limited, and the impact of international sanctions on Russia's economy is frankly speaking, disastrous, we should not expect that the paradigm of development of the RF's federal and regional elites will change, and that the public needs of the Russian population will get radicalized, even in case of deaths of Russian military servicemen in Syria.

The argumenat of some international experts about possible “alternatives” to V. Putin from “conservative” (S. Ivanov, S. Shoigu, D. Rogozin) or “conservative- democratic” (D. Medvedev, A. Kudrin) camps, most likely, is the result of their reflection on the Kremlin's information stove-piping. In fact, in times of sharpening of the foreign policy situation, the Russian President periodically sends to the state-oligarchic and regional clans “signals” about his readiness to implement a policy of rigid staff decisions (like to repeat “Yakunin's way”), as well as about the need for a substantial reduction of corruption costs in terms of Russia's international isolation and reduction of financial resources that should be directed to ensuring the stability of the regime.

So, the above-said along with V. Putin's public demonstration of willingness to identify with actions of D. Medvedev's government, which has proven its willingness to remain “in V. Putin's charger” even at the cost of humiliation and “political oblivion”, allows to forecast formal strengthening of importance of the Prime Minister in the political decision-making and possibility of reanimation of the inverse image of the “tandem” in the Russian government.

However, under any circumstances, internal and external, we can talk only about V. Putin's readiness to pay any price for the “Ukrainian”, “Syrian” as well as other subsequent adventures, because “at stake” is his lifetime presidency.