The New Czar

And in relation to my last post, we are seeing Putin starting to tick all of the boxes to be labelled as a tyrant.

Certainly his decision to host the winter Olympics in a Southern Black sea town has to strike one as bizarre. One wonders why none of his advisers spoke up to question this…clearly because they were too scared of him to do so. And squandering $50 billion on it seems a tad excessive. Consider what would have likely happened had and government in the UK spend anything like that on the London 2012 games?

And we see clear indications of megalomania. One thing I’ve noticed for example, whenever Putin gives interviews these days he’s usually seated on a raised platform or seat of some kind…A tactic long used by royalty I might add. He’s also taken to building many extravagant palaces for himself, the latest being part of the Sochi games construction projects.

And there’s have been numerous “suspicious” deaths of his opponents, including those of Litvinenko and Berezovsky within the UK. As for the media, as I mentioned in a prior post, the Russian media these days is about as fair and balanced as that under the soviets. Reporters without Borders rates Russia under Putin as one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist.

And in Crimea we saw one of the other hallmarks of a dictatorship, that of a rigged ballot to give them the veneer of democratic legitimacy. It is for good reason that many are deeply sceptical of the supposed margin of victory in the Crimean “referendum” of 96%, with a turnout of 89%…considering that about 40% of the population (ethnic Tartars and Ukrainians) were boycotting the poll. And of course this poll gave only two options, neither of which offered the option of staying part of Ukraine!

Ultimately we need to realise that power has gone to Putin’s head and Europe has a megalomaniac dictator on its borders, likely surrounded by a horde of his cronies who are either too afraid to criticise him, or too busy making money off the back of his regime to care. Russia is not so much a rogue state, but as one author has described it as “a mafia state” where Putin is the Cap di tutti Capi.

Now it’s bad enough having such tyrants in charge of some African country or oil rich emirate, but having a dictator like this in charge of a sizable army, gas & oil reserves and nuclear weapons is not good for world security. Already NATO are supposedly weighting up their options.

And what will be worrying NATO is the knowledge that you can count on one hand the number of tyrants who have gone from power willingly. Most have either been hounded from office by a popular uprising, as occurred in Serbia. Or the dictator has been forced from power by civil war, as is currently ongoing in Syria. And indeed recall the whole reason there is a Syrian civil war is thanks to Putin (otherwise its likely he’d have been ousted sometime ago, much like Gaddafi) and one of the primary concerns was the fate of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles in the event of a power vacuum.

In short this can all only end badly for Russia. While Putin might be able to maintain his cult of personality through the good economic times, he’ll struggle to do so when inevitably these sanctions start to bite and the Russian economy starts to suffer. And at this point its difficult to predict the end game for his regime.

Again, one does not need to dress up in khaki and invade Poland to earn the label “dictator“. All one needs to do is show a completely disregard for all the checks and balances on political power intended to stop one person becoming too powerful. Which even the ancient Greeks, in the world’s first democracy(ish!) realised, was exceptionally dangerous.

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One thought on “The New Czar

  1. The only good thing to say about them is that they are finite. The problem is, what happens when they are gone? The west and especially America has been incredibly naive in assuming that democracy will look the same in every culture. Ignorance plus power – a toxic combination.

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