Is It Any Wonder...
Power Politics and Putin
“The only language Russians understand,” asserted Edmundas Jakilaitis during a panel discussion last fall, “is power.” A Lithuanian journalist whose birth certificate bears a hammer and sickle, Jakilaitis knows what he is talking about.[---]
during a panel discussion last fall, “is power.”
"A combination of plummeting oil prices and international sanctions have sent Russia’s economy into a tailspin. The ruble’s value is collapsing, and the Russian Central Bank has hiked interest rates. Many Russians’ mortgage payments—taken in foreign currency because of the lower interest rates—have skyrocketed as the ruble falls. The Kremlin has launched a $35 billion “anti-crisis” package that seems like it will do more to burn through Russia’s currency reserves than stimulate the economy. Military spending, meanwhile, roars ahead. In his year-end press conference, President Vladimir Putin claimed his country would emerge from the crisis within two years.
That sounds pretty optimistic. But as Russia’s domestic problems grow, Putin employs a tried-and-true strategy: distraction. Moscow sends tanks, weapons, and uniformless fighters into Ukraine and talks of protecting Russian-speaking minorities. Putin’s real aim is to stoke nationalist pride in the face of rising prices and emptying shelves."
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