putin factor

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 May 2018 11:31:58

NOW that Mr. Vladimir Putin has taken oath as President of Russia for a record fourth term, the world will have to assess correctly the importance of the Putin factor that will shape a major part of global politics. Though the oath was just a formality, the world watched eagerly how Russia reacted to the development. As Mr. Putin took oath, the country saw countless people taking to streets for demonstrations and protests against the supremo. These protests stem from a possibility being expressed the world over that Mr. Putin might introduce certain changes in the constitution of Russia to ensure his continuance in the coveted post for life. Already, he has disobeyed the constitution that stipulates that no one person can serve as President more than two consecutive terms. The protests stem from the public apprehension of Mr. Putin gunning for presidency for life.

However, Mr. Putin also knows public pulse. For, as he got elected for the fourth term, he announced that enduring peace was his top priority. “I believe that peace in a prosperous Russia is my obligation and meaning of life”, he had said upon getting elected. Now, using that statement, he will think of enduring peace only if he is in power. If some segments in Russia strongly oppose Mr. Putin’s method and manner, the world at large, too, has developed several reservations about his leadership of Russia. Not just United States of America under President Mr. Donald Trump, but also a large part of the global diplomatic community believes that Mr. Vladimir Putin may not be the best person in the Kremlin. For, as many world leaders suspect, Mr. Putin is an autocrat in a democratic garb who would not mind obliterating the constitution only to accommodate himself as a permanent resident of the Kremlin.

This authoritarianism is something the global leaders seem to be apprehensive about. For, as the experience goes, when a leader is permanently embedded in a position, his tone and tenor change and he becomes a difficult proposition in terms of negotiated settlements. The global leaders have many questions to be raised about the Russian role in Syria, about Mr. Putin’s ambition of making Russia a world superpower once again, about Russia’s nuclear stockpile, and finally about Russia’s dwindling economy whose redemption may not be easy.

The international fears about the decline in Russia’s economic prowess are serious in real terms. Though Mr. Putin may not admit to such a decline openly, the dwindling economy is going to be his eternal challenge. For, with growth rate on a slow dwindle, Mr. Putin will have to restructure the entire economic management. With his heavy commitment in international engagement, it will be a real big question how he will be able to help domestic economy stabilise and turn the country to prosperity. If peace and prosperity are Mr. Putin’s top priorities, then the question whether he has the tools to achieve the goal sounds almost difficult at this stage in particular. For, the domestic challenges of the economy and also peace in the larger Russian context are the two issues that are going to dare the Russian strongman in the most obnoxious manner.
It must be said that though he is operating in democracy, Mr. Putin has displayed enough propensities to follow in the footprints of his Communist predecessors who wielded unabridged power, no matter how badly they messed up the ideology. Perhaps, the example of Mr. Xi Jinping next door in China may also be one of Mr. Putin’s trigger. But hopefully, the system of democracy will not allow Mr. Putin to follow the communist model totally. Yet, the world leaders suspect that he would endeavour to grab unbridled power and stab various global initiatives for common cause such as combating terrorism or expansionism.