Putin And Russia

By Sunil Kumar

Today, we tread into “Brothers Karamazov” territory again; the main constituent of the former superpower; Russia. Communism is an ancient ideal; however in the modern world; Marx was a German Jew; Russia its most famous exponent; Mao one of its most famous adherents; and the rest of the world only enamored by the concept.

English: THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. With last Presid...

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in English: THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. With last President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. Русский: МОСКВА, КРЕМЛЬ. С экс-президентом Советского Союза Михаилом Горбачевым. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Soviet Union’s famous leaders including Stalin and Lenin were succeeded by chaps such as Brezhnev, Khruschev and the spectacled pockmarked Mikhail Gorbachev. In India; the image of the U.S.S.R as a friendly nation was reinforced over the years; so the true nature of the succeeding republic of Russia has never been a large part of the public consciousness.

The Soviet Union’s exit from the world stage led to a vacuum and a tilt towards a single axis of power. Boris Yeltsin; the man who succeeded Gorbachev was more famous for vodka consumption than his actual part in the global theatre of geopolitics. Enter Putin; an admirer of the former Soviet Union KGB chief Yuri Andropov or so the media tells us. As in nearly every country of the world; Russia has had to face insurgencies; particularly in the North Caucasus, Chechnya. Putin apparently supports and imprisons oligarchs; big businessmen who profited after the collapse of the Soviet Union largely due to oil. Gazprom; one of the biggest oil companies in the world is also controlled by the Russian establishment.

Vladimir Putin; according to Western and some local dissident sources is a firm believer in single-party politics; and remembers fondly the days of the former Soviet Union. The once famous KGB(the country’s intelligence agency) has been replaced by the FSB(Federal Security Service) with its headquarters in Lubyanka Square, Moscow. The country is now a curious combination of overt capitalism(apparently in full display in the capital) and the old peasant rebellion and vast barren landscapes of the past(source: Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion, founder of the United Civil Front Movement).

India’s role in the world arena has been characterized by its rising economic power; and the short-sightedness of its government. As an old ally; the country’s political leadership(if they could shift their attention to the world rather than internal bickering) can definitely benefit from Russia’s historically close ties with our nation. Putin has shown that he can stand up to the United States often; and wants to regain the old significance of the USSR’s global role. Putin has also openly threatened the country’s rebellious minorities in no unequivocal terms(possible in China; but impossible in the democratic republic of India) and attempts to court the country of Ukraine; Russia’s Slav counterparts that have been receiving attention from the European Union and the United States).

The country is still the largest in terms of landmass on the planet; and has only a fraction of India’s people. The Asian century; the much abused term used often globally can benefit India due to its huge market and soon-to-be biggest population in the world. The world has now seen the increasing assertiveness of China; that tries to torpedo anything beneficial to this country. If we remind our friends across the Himalayan border; it was India’s generosity that got them a role in the United Nations.

Western nations have throughout history been seductively attracted to dictators and power-mongers; as the only thing relevant to their shrill semi-moral lives is the lure of commerce. Putin; the patriot of Russia is no different; as he sells arms to every nation-state in the world. A counter-weight in the world can be a good thing; if he manages to curb the sometimes foolhardy actions of the sole superpower.



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