Former Ukrainian diplomat, now director of the bilateral relations department of NGO 'Maidan of Foreign Affairs Oleh Belokolos on what latest changes in Russia are aimed on and what it means for the world.
It’s difficult to argue with the experts who point out that the Russian economy is in a deep recession and Russian businesses are falling behind. Having said that, Russia still retains some capacity to absorb the economic shock, but most importantly, the Kremlin’s decision to continue operations in places like Syria and Ukraine rests on far more than merely financial considerations.
Perhaps unnoticeably for most, Russia itself has just undergone a profound change in its political configuration as a result of the recent parliamentary elections. Specifically, the Duma has de-facto become a one-party Parliament. The three other factions are not even able to compose the "blocking stake", which means that all laws will be passed or rejected by the votes of the Edinaya Rossiya party. Thus, all the formal hierarchy, including the posts of the Speaker and the Committee Chairmen, has become entirely decorative.
In general, all four parties that have made it into the new Duma, are the parties of the so-called "Crimean consensus". None of the political forces that had criticized the President and his policy passed the required 5% barrier. So, for now, technically, everything is under Putin's control. However, since the formal legitimacy is very important to the Russian leader, the 2018 when the next presidential elections is supposed to take place, will be the crucial moment for him and major preparations are already underway.
For instance, to strengthen his personal power further, by 2018, Putin plans to create the Ministry of the State Security, perhaps following the footprints of Stalin's who created such a monster during the World War II. According to the available information, this colossal new structure will include a number of existing repressive bodies, as well as the Foreign Intelligence Service. In other words, it would be a modern reincarnation of the notorious KGB. And most certainly, just as its predecessor, the new Ministry of the State Security will be directly involved in espionage, propaganda and sabotage abroad.
By now, Putin understands that the international sanctions will stay as long, as Moscow does not fulfill its obligations under the Minsk Arrangements. So, while his immediate target is Ukraine, his ultimate goal is to weaken Europe and drive a permanent wedge between the US and its European allies.
To that end, he attempts to influence the presidential election in the US and destabilize the political situation in Europe, especially in France and Germany who will hold elections next year.
In the coming months we should expect not only a significant increase in the combined military and non-military pressure on Ukraine and the escalation of the information war against the West. We also shouldn't be surprised if Putin continues to bomb Syria and kill civilians to provoke more refugee waves into Europe.
And while the Western leaders continue to seek dialogue with Russia, it is important to remember that Putin cannot accept anything less than the full legitimization of his strategic plans – to create the de-facto spheres of influence, at least in Europe.
Earlier Oleh Belokolos stated, that Putin's regime now has all signs of fascism.
Source: Ukraine today