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By Pete Moore On January 23rd, 2021

What does Putin do? Pro-Navalny demonstrations have taken place across many Russian cities today. They weren’t the biggest demonstrations ever seen but they were blatant and defiant. If Putin cracks down on the demos and jails Nabalny for a long time he risks stoking opposition. If he doesn’t do so he appears weak with elections coming up. I don’t know what Putin’s actual popularity is in Russia but every leader, whoever they are, has a shelf life. If they hang around long enough everyone becomes tired of them in the end.

8 Responses to “PUTIN’S IN A PICKLE”

  1. Putin’s reflex will be to double down with repression. It’s all he knows.

  2. Popularity is a nebulous thing. My wife and I were in Russia back in 2008 (seems like a lifetime ago!) when the presidential election was on. It was the time when Putin stepped down as president to run as prime minister, with Medvedev the PM running for a term as president. We stayed with an English friend of ours who worked for Russia Today, and got to meet quite a few Russians. Generalisation of course, but the ones we met were great people, very friendly, very generous and very interested in the West – and Manchester United! Most of them seemed resigned to see Putin and Medvedev swap jobs…none of them came across as fervent Putinites, though some felt he provided necessary stability.

  3. //Most of them seemed resigned to see Putin and Medvedev swap jobs…n//

    Interesting, Michael. But what do you mean by “resigned to”? – They saw it as inevitable that he’d be duly elected or they saw it as inevitable that he’s stay in power one way or another. i.e. what pc. of the people, do you think, believe their political system is democratic?

  4. There is nothing genuinely democratic about the Russian political system. Anyone who tries to organise any effective or electable opposition party finds themselves arrested and jailed for trumped up ‘corruption’ or embezzlement charges, that’s if they are lucky enough not to be poisoned first.

  5. Hi Noel, well the people we talked to seemed to think the power swap was inevitable and that Putin would remain in charge for the foreseeable future. Hmmm, I’m not sure what percentage saw their system as democratic in our terms, but in their terms yes, they contrasted favourably an elected President and Duma with the Soviet system. I gained a sense that they came at democracy from a very different starting point. Mind you, I was impressed that they spoke quite freely, not worried about being overheard and yes, there were some criticisms of Putin offered too. Loved Moscow and St. Petersburg by the by…if you get a chance, go see.

  6. Welcome to this tangled web Michael. Hope you enjoy engaging with us here.

  7. Thanks Colm, good to be here. Always enjoy a good debate or exchange of views.

  8. Michael

    Good to see a fresh face here.

    Curious, where do you live?