Posted by: bklunk | April 18, 2007

Putting Putin in Perspective

Lurking in the background . . .

Unrest in the Motherland « Engineering with a Global Twist

It seems, based on recent actions by police forces in Moscow, that President Vladimir Putin has something else to fear: public demonstrations of opposition. Over the weekend, opposition rallies have been blocked by riot police. These protesters were expressing their disagreement with President Putin and his policies.

This mirrors actions taken by the Russian government in recent months. The suppression of protests is just one tactic Putin uses to hide dissatisfaction among the masses. It’s been reported that opposing political parties have been incongruously disqualified from elections and news media outlets have been targeted and monitored.

Sadly, this tyrannical-like system is the direction Putin has been privy to. Western nations and non-governmental organizations alike have watched with alarm at the developments taking place in Russia. This latest incident, where up to one-quarter of the demonstrators were detained and eventually released, only further demonstrates the lengths that Putin will go to eliminate any and all challenges. Some interpret this as a sign of weakness or fear; that Putin feels he is losing his grip on the state of his country.

Whatever motivates him, the solutions Putin uses seem to be working as his party continues to dominate the political landscape. He could care less about what the West thinks. Putin’s main concern is keeping order and stability, even at the cost of freedom. By doing this, Putin makes Russia a more attractive partner to other countries in the processing of uranium and other resources prevalent in Africa.

Putin may be stubborn, but his success at following through on his ideals is clearly shown. He has conviction. I have to give him that much. But nothing else.

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  1. Vladimir Putin is an interesting fellow. From someone who showed his soul to President Bush shortly after beginning his term, he has more and more resembled the traditional Russian autocrat: oppressive, powerful, and paranoid. What exactly caused this change?

    I think that most of the shift in his policy can be attributed to Russia’s resurgence on the world stage as a major power. Since 9/11, the prices of crude oil and natural gas have sky-rocketed. Conveniently, Russia is blessed with ample supplies of both. Putin has been able to use these natural resources as leverage in dealing with the West. And, in the process, he has restored nationalistic pride to many Russians. He is extremely popular throughout Russia as a consequence.

    Clearly, as the recent protests indicate, not all Russians love him. To Westerners, Putin’s tactics in dealing with the protesters leave much to be desired. In my view, Putin’s view on liberal democracy is all too clear: he despises it, which is very much in line with Russian history, both under the tsars and the Communists. We in the West were probably expecting too much from a former KGB officer.

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