At present, Russia is a democracy the way Mexico in the decades of PRI hegemony was a democracy, i.e., to some limited extent and with some real if usually impotent opposition. I’m sure Putin’s actions always do have political consequences, sometimes unintended, that he has to worry about in a way a Soviet leader would not have. Is annexing the Crimea and everything else about how he’s handling the Ukraine situation going to boost his popularity, or boost the opposition? Or both?
According to this poll:
But, that dates from 02/24/14. Annexation of the Crimea might have changed perceptions. A successful territorial grab with some actual defensibility in nationalist terms could play well.
From the same poll, BTW:
Longer term it depends on how this plays out longer term, especially economically, not what short term polling data shows.
Short term you always get a rallying around the flag effect. Look at G.W. Bush’sapproval numbers initially after the Iraq invasion (over 70%). Three years later? (About 30%)
Will this cause Europe to approve fracking over environmental objections and fast track other alternatives to Russian natural gas? Will it cause investment to retreat? If it does either or both then the impact is a bit different than if the world shrugs it off and the Russian economy stays moderately stable.
Assume the Russian economy essentially tanks. What happens then? I don’t know myself. Putin is perhaps nuts enough to conclude that military adventurism, recreating the empire that he percieved the USSR to be, is then his best option. The Cold War had Russia (as the managing partner of the USSR) as one of the big powers, not as a country mired in malaise. Perhaps he longs for those days.
Call me when mass protests are possible in America.
You have to be joking.
Apart from the peaceful ineptitude of the protestors, the lack of any coherent ideology beyond “Rain, Rain, Go Away.”, the amused condescension of the Democrats feeling their pain, the angry squawkings of the teapots, and the entire lack of outcome, you might be able to place this beside the Haymarket Affair, the Ludlow Massacre and the Bonus March were you on drugs, but it doesn’t rank with even the damp squib of the Storming of the Winter Palace in reality.
The Left, as always, should learn to work with what it’s got: Americans are too dispersed — not only in distance, but in anomie —; too conformist; and too conditioned for action directe to be viable. Let alone the fact that if provoked the government would crush them like a bug with overweening firepower.
I believe the Wobblies are still recruiting.
I would guess Putins adventure in Crimea will have a long term negative economic effect on Russia but I don’t think he cares so much about that. He is more interested in hard power to keep surrounding countries as client states of Russia with one of his pet oligarchs in charge. Annexing Crimea is the equivalent of Don Corleone putting a horses head in the bed of the new government in Kiev.
It will certainly concentrate the attention of the European states dependent on the Russian gas pipelines. They look enviously at the US as it harvests the abundance of gas from the fracking programme. The environmental lobby has stalled the exploitation of similar resources in Europe. German in particular is also committed to go non-Nuclear by 2022 and Russian gas supplies supply 30% of its current needs. No amount of windmills is going to close that gap.
Russias economy is heavily dependent on Oil and Gas exports. Those pipelines carry gas to Europe and an awful lot of $ back to Russia. They are an important part of the international poker game.
This article suggests the Iran card might be played which would create a new gas supply for western markets. Though that will no doubt cause a great consternation amongst the Gulf states. Putin obviously thinks it won’t happen because of well known vested interests in keeping things as they are.
If the Russian economy goes into severe a recession will Putin be damaged?
I suspect he has enough surplus cash stashed away during the times of plenty, when Oil prices were skyhigh, to keep himself and the Russian elite in power for some years yet. Alternative gas supplies for Europe will take some time to put in place. The fastest way is to carry liquified gas by tanker from the US to Europe, which requires a change of law in the US. I expect Mr Obama will play this card pretty soon. I would guess China will become a bigger customer for Russian Oil and Gas.
Putin and his henchmen can easily ride this out.
[shrug] You asked for mass protests in America. Mass protests is mass protests. You didn’t ask for revolution-starting protests.
From what I’ve been able to read, the Putin faction has been doing the utmost to ensure its own permanence. Unlike Mexico in the 80s/90s they so not yet seem to be in as much of a perceived state of moral exhaustion so it would take a painful economic setback to get people to start a hard pushback and more importantly, for allies to start dropping out and not fearing to push back themselves.
What does mass protest in America have to do with how things go in Russia, anyway?
Yes, **Cleaverhouse **writes “mass protest”, when what he seemed to mean was mass uprising, which the people at large see no need for right now. Heck, he speaks of “the Left” when ironically enough the ones in the USA talking a lot about a possible violent confrontation with the government are in the far Right.
There was a very interesting interview by Terri Gross on Fresh Air with political scientist Kimberly Marten, a professor of political science at Barnard College, the deputy director for development at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, and a faculty member at Columbia’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. If you want to listen, here’s the link to “How Crimea’s Annexation Plays To Russians’ Soviet Nostalgia”:
Nope I’m talking about effective mass protests from a large number of malcontents that changes government thinking, not necessarily changing governments. At the Haymarket they were just demanding an eight-hour day.
Although, obviously since Washington DC is the only place where the military may perform police action since war veterans demanded back-pay in 1781 and were dispersed, frightening the politicians, it may be best to choose somewhere else to protest.
You mentioned earlier: Three-quarters of respondents are confident that similar mass protests are not possible in Russia (75%). Residents of million cities and rural area residents (79%, for each) do not believe such a scenario is possible in Russia. Only Muscovites and residents of St. Petersburg oppose them (64%).
So if mass protests are not possible in Russia, they are equally unlikely in America — in both cases due to the regime’s propaganda and acceptance.
Nope, as above protest is not revolution. But if large angry slavic men can go into public squares and scream at each other, and topple governments whilst not overthrowing the state; and other countries from France to South Korea have a venerable tradition of throwing things at cops and in return receiving baton charges, one may think that Americans do not have the stomach for challenging their masters.
Well, maybe the Left should be talking about it.
What pressing issues come to mind as we gather our torches and pitchforks to take to the streets? IOW, what are we protesting?
(Don’t say, “What have you got?”)
[hijack nearly irreversible]
Seconding QuickSilver’s question: over ***what? *** So we prefer to do battle for our rights with legal briefs instead of teargas canisters. Sue us
Our last politically inspired mass actions were in the late 50s-early 70s. Civil Rights legislation was passed, the Vietnam war ended, so we said “nice work”, went home and took up disco. Let the new kids have their struggle if they have one.
[/hijack nearly irreversible]
Well, if you think your governmental and economic situations are presently very good, and require only a little tinkering through the official allowed channels — various elections based upon differing ideals just as in soviet times through approved parties — to solve minor problems, then obviously you don’t need to protest over anything, nor to want any change at all.
In fact you should oppose change and support all your present masters of whatever party quietly but vocally, which is all they ask.
Mass Protest in the Ukrainian style however would only be useful for those ( left, in this case ) Americans opposed to current trends and decisions — who do exist, I’ve sometimes read some discontent on the internet: not even in Samizdat — but as I said, would not be permitted.
Also call me when a black man can get elected President!
Long term, I don’t think it is good for his hard power. Russias military potential is just too minute compared to Europe, NATO or the US. It is minute compared to each of them, far less all of them.
EU has what? Five times Russias population, eight times the economy, how many times the military budget? Russias hard power rests on poorly maintained Soviet handmedowns. And the EUs notion that military spending is just not relevant anymore. If Putin has disabused them of this notion…well the Soviet Union was far more powerful and collpsed trying to keep up with the wests economy. Russia is smaller and facing a larger west.
If the EU actually starts taking their military seriously, Russia simply can’t keep up. They are pretty far behind as-is, actually. That leaves Russias only hard power their nukes.
How can Putin not look good for securing the Black Sea bases and bringing home a large ethnic Russian population?
Thats short term. The question is what happens long term. Does the Crimean majority prove troublesome? Does the sanctions cause a recession? Worse, does Europe set up an alternative to Russian gas? Does Europe start to coordiante its military spending and armies?
Each of this could bring into question whether Crimea was worth the cost.
I’m left in almost any case. But you still haven’t told me what specifically I should be manning the barricades about.