Putin’s Russia en route to self-isolation

A lot is currently going on in Russia, with one of the most discussed topics being the detainment of Navalny and replacing his suspended sentence with an actual jail sentence. We will not discuss the legal peculiarities of Russia, nor will we talk about how the international community will most likely agree to impose new sanctions against Russia. We will talk about how Putin’s Russia is deliberately taking the path of self-isolation, writes Zintis Znotiņš.

Yes, you read that correctly – Russia, i.e. Putin, is rapidly heading towards self-isolation. And it makes sense if you think about it. Essentially, Putin can only remain in power if Russia becomes isolated from the rest of the world. We could be witnesses to attempts to create a new version of North Korea.

Of course, there are no official documents or decrees issued by Putin that clearly state something like this, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.

What is needed to ensure the existence of an isolated regime? Such regimes are based on three pillars – the army, internal forces (both law enforcement and legislative institutions) and propaganda/agitation.

We’ve talked plenty about Putin’s announcements regarding armaments. If weapons can be generally divided into defensive and offensive ones, Putin’s Russia is establishing its defense doctrine based on its offensive weapons. This means that currently one of Russia’s most important tasks is to ensure, or at least create an illusion, that the Russian Armed Forces are capable of engaging in combat on any level. Naturally, supplying the army significantly worsens the livelihoods of the regular people. Is Putin concerned about such trifles? I don’t think he is. We can compare the current situation with the arming of the USSR in the early 40-ies and during the Cold War when USSR citizens were drowning in poverty because all of the money was used for armaments and to ensure that no one can freely leave the happy USSR.

What concerns internal forces, these can be divided into two segments – internal law enforcement structures and legislative institutions. If we look at the eagerness of law enforcement to suppress protesters, it’s clear that neither Putin, nor Lukashenko have to worry about this aspect. Law enforcement remains loyal. However, Putin should remember history, i.e. that during all the important events of Russia, the army and the police have sided with the people.

What concerns legislative institutions, this is where Putin can feel the safest. Currently, there are 441 State Duma deputies, and 335 of them represent the party United Russia. For those who don’t know, Russia is one of the unique nations where someone first became president and only then a party was established. Moreover, parties are usually created to achieve particular goals or “ideals”, regardless of its leaders, and United Russia was purposely created to support Putin: the charter of the party states that it’s goal is to support the president. This means that Putin can be certain that the legislative system is working for him. In Russia, legislature is more intended to be an imitation of democracy, but in reality it accepts and obeys Putin’s wishes.

For instance, a draft law is being reviewed that would amend Russia’s Criminal Code to punish (with a jail sentence of up to five years) those that falsify facts about World War II. Naturally, falsification in the sense of Russian law means any opinion that doesn’t correspond with Putin’s views. Another example – Putin has asked the State Duma to pass a law that forbids comparisons between Nazi Germany and the USSR. Does anyone have any doubts that Putin’s wish will be fulfilled? Lastly, everyone is aware that due to Russia’s actions it’s officials are being subject to different sanctions. Do you think that Russian officials then try to understand what they did wrong and attempt to improve in order to live in harmony? No, of course not, instead the Russian State Duma is considering to pass a law that would intend criminal punishment for persons that discuss sanctions being imposed against Russia. This means that, for example, if a foreign official or a regular citizen expresses an opinion that sanctions should be imposed against Russia because of its actions, they can get punished in Russia. Great idea, isn’t it? There is no doubt that the law in Russia is intended to blindly serve Putin.

Let’s look at propaganda/agitation. In order for any propaganda to be effective, it needs to be spread as widely as possible and any other opinions must be simultaneously silenced. And it’s well-known fact that if you begin brainwashing people at an early age, it will only be a matter of time until they truly believe you.

This means that it’s crucial to begin explaining to people what is right and wrong as early as possible. In Soviet times, schools had political information classes where children were taught about the wishes of the leaders of the party. Putin has expressed numerous times that he wants to resurrect the USSR. This is impossible on the same geographical scale, but it can still be done in the current territory. There is no need to reinvent the wheel – just use the previously acquired experience. In response to the high participation of pupils and students in the recent protests against the jailing of Navalny, Russian schools will now have a special post, i.e. advisor to the teacher whose responsibility will be to suppress such sentiments. A source close to the Russian Presidential Administration revealed that the participation of young people in the protests was discussed on the “highest level” and that the administration decided to activate “all of the existing projects concerning this issue”. Well, we’ve covered propaganda and agitation – in Russia already since the first grade until the graduation of a university young people will be told that Putin is great, Russia is friendly and everything outside of Russia is rotten. Just like in the good old Soviet Union.

What is the situation regarding the freedom of speech and media freedom in Russia? You’ve probably heard – the situation is prefect, i.e. these things simply do not exist.

What concerns the freedom of speech, in 2020 Russia was ranked 149th out of 180 countries. North Korea was ranked 180th.

The country is run by state propaganda and agitation, but there is one obstacle – the internet. Of course, the internet can be subject to control, but not completely. So, what is the solution here? The answer is – just turn off the internet. It may sound impossible, but Dmitry Medvedev has already talked about this, saying that if necessary Russia is legally and technologically ready to disconnect form the world wide web.

What can we conclude from all this? First, Putin has ensured that the army serves as an instrument of deterrence, and not because of its defensive potential, but because of its offensive capabilities. Even if these capabilities are non-existent, it’s important to make others believe in them.

Second, law enforcement authorities in Russia are vast and, at least for now, loyal to Putin. Moreover, legislators are ready to fulfill all of Putin’s wishes.

The media publishes only pro-Putin information, and if someone tries to express a different opinion, they are quickly silenced. An in order to ensure future stability, Russia has decided to brainwash children from a very young age. The only thing that could hinder this is the internet. However, the internet cannot be a problem if there is no internet.

You have to agree that such a situation cannot accidentally come together. This is the result of deliberate actions, and these actions are inevitably moving Russia closer to self-isolation. Nothing from the outside will be allowed in Russia. Can Putin truly benefit from such a situation? I would say yes, because he is fully aware of what could happen if the regime isn’t isolated. Putin’s Russia and North Korea already had numerous similarities, but it now seems Putin wants Russia to become indistinguishable from its ideological sister.

(c) EU Reporter

16 comments

  • “Putin’s Russia and North Korea already had numerous similarities, but it now seems Putin wants Russia to become indistinguishable from its ideological sister.”

    Putin can then give himself 125% of the vote in any elections, and be quite sure the sheep stay quiet.

    Liked by 7 people

  • Very good article. The writer should not be shy though. Why not state openly the bleedin’ obvious: that Russia has had a fascist dictatorship for 20 years, but conned the west, or at least its western shills, into believing that it was a democracy. United Russia is a catch-all with no published ideology. Parliament is a sham; even those parties listed as opposition, such as the communists and the Liberal Democrats (Zhirinovsky’s shitshow), are just there to rubber stamp putler decrees.
    All opponents, dissenting politicians and journalists that putler feared have been murdered, imprisoned or exiled. Just a few examples : Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya, Boris Nemtsov, Garyk Kasparov, Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and of course Navalny.
    There might be one (still) free man left in Russia who could command the type of support that Nav has and that would be Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was Nemtsov’s protege. Kara-Murza maintains a cordial relationship with Nav, but is much more of a democrat. However, he has already been poisoned twice by putler’s goon squad.

    Liked by 5 people

    • We have had Medvedev, Lavrov, Simonyan all coming out with similar statements recently about Russia isolating itself. What are they waiting for, the West to come begging for them not to do it? The West should say, “Ok your choice”. I think we all know Russia will never do it, because it would mean no access to banking systems, and laundering Russian money to pay all it’s useful idiots around the world.

      Liked by 6 people

    • People have been conned because it suits their aims. In short, they wanted to be conned. The US extreme left is doing their best to follow in the path of Putin and Xi.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Mafia land can go ahead and retreat from the world stage … like a snail that shrinks itself into its little house.
    Seriously now, the internet is meaningless for all the Soviet-era people in mafia land but not for the younger generation. And, it’s the younger generation that the mafiosi must watch out for. Shutting off the www won’t go well with them.

    Liked by 7 people

    • My wife went through the hell of the Soviet brainwashing, luckily she saw through the BS when she travelled to Europe after the Soviet Union disintegrated. They were taught that conditions in the West were far worse than in the Soviet Union, and life in the West was fabricated by Hollywood movies. She first visited the Netherlands, and couldn’t believe that shops had full shelves of food, and people didn’t have to queue outside empty shops. She saw people smiling, which was frowned on in the Soviet Union, the kids were told only imbeciles smiled, and life was too serious for laughter.

      Liked by 6 people

  • Regardless of what Putin says, he wants Russia isolated. He can have his way with his toy country. The cost, however, will be immense.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I believe that the West should prepare for the dissolution of Russia.
    Russia is a declining state that disguises its internal infirmities with external offensives. Russia’s economy is stagnating. Through a combination of low fossil fuel prices, Chinese bat virus ,infrastructural decay, pervasive corruption and Western financial sanctions, state revenues are declining, living standards are falling, social conflicts are intensifying and regional disquiet is mounting.
    Although economic performance alone is insufficient to measure susceptibility to collapse, rising social, ethnic and regional pressures indicate that Russia is heading toward fragmentation.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Better still, instead of preparing for; actively working for. Some hope! Unfortunately. When it went tits up last time, never was so much sympathy and cash wasted on such undeserving people. $30 billion of western aid was thieved. Countries like Ukraine and Georgia received nothing.

      Liked by 6 people

      • Ironically , Putin blames unfulfilled Western promises for a litany of Russian woes over the last quarter century. In his view, Russians trusted the West to provide economic aid, political support, and above all acceptance into a broader European security environment in exchange for their peaceful transformation .
        This is how he justifies what the Russian people received from his leadership, which is poverty, isolation, and the Iron Curtain of old moved closer to Moscow.

        Liked by 6 people

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