What is Vladimir Putin up to?

At the end of every year, Russian president Vladimir Putin holds a lengthy and wide-ranging news conference and this event was held yesterday. He was asked questions about all the troubles that Donald Trump was facing and Theresa May’s problems with Brexit. Instead of diplomatically replying that those were matters for the people of those nations to deal with, Putin seemed to relish the opportunity to fan the flames by giving gratuitous advice as well as a mini-lecture on what real democracy should be like.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has accused the UK and US political classes of “disrespecting” the public by questioning the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election.

“They don’t want to recognise [President Trump’s] victory. That’s disrespect of voters,” Mr Putin said.

“It’s the same in Britain: Brexit happened, but nobody wants to implement it.”

The president’s comments came at his year-end press conference in Moscow.

Russia’s leader also said British Prime Minister Theresa May has no choice but to follow through with Brexit, as failing to do so would undermine UK democracy.

“She must enact the will of the people, expressed during the referendum,” he said. “Or otherwise it is not a referendum at all: doing it over and over again if someone did not like it [the result]. Is it a democracy?”

Probably the last thing the embattled May needs at this point is to be told by Putin what she should do. And the last thing that Trump needs, facing so many charges of being in the thrall of Putin, it is to have Putin publicly express support for him, though Trump being the narcissist he is, likely sees any support from any quarter as welcome.

I think that Putin, constantly at the receiving end of advice and criticism in the US and Europe, is enjoying dishing it out in return.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    That’s disrespect of voters,” Mr Putin said.
    “It’s the same in Britain: Brexit happened, but nobody wants to implement it.”

    As I recall, after the Brexit vote, various electoral lies and shenanigans were revealed, including false claims about health funding during the campaign. I don’t see how it would be “disrespect of voters” to hold another election under the circumstances.

  2. DonDueed says

    Never mind that, if the US had direct democractic presidential elections, Trump would not be President at all.

  3. EigenSprocketUK says

    Conversely, I wonder if Putin’s outright statement in support of Brexit will open the eyes of most Leave voters who aren’t hard line.
    Putin has his cheerleaders, of course —Nigel Farage, Andy Wigmore, Arron Banks, the Breitbart crew— but their starry-eyed adoration of Putin may be their undoing. The majority of Leave-voting people, who were dragged into believing the lies of the referendum, are not in thrall to Moscow. I suspect it will go down like a cup of cold sick with anyone who believed they were voting to “take back control” [from the EU, they believed] and voting for sovereignty.

  4. mnb0 says

    “….. is enjoying dishing it out in return”
    Regarding European (including Russian) politics you are and remain, like so many Americans, naive and superficial.
    What Putin is up to is very simple and has been known for years: upgrade his country to superpower level again. As he neither has the economic nor the political power necessary to reach this goal he has developed another strategy: he divides and weakens his opponents. And he’s damn good at it.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 6mnb0
    I think that is a bit of an overstatement. Putin (unlike Trump and May) seems to be aware of the possible. I agree that he neither has the economic nor the political power necessary to upgrade Russia to Super Power status but he realizes that. Not that he likes it but he realizes it.

    He certainly wants to restore Russia to “World Power” status, say equivalent to Germany or, perhaps, India or Japan and he seems well on the way to doing so or has already got there. He realizes Russia just does not have the resources to go higher.

    Just Syria, alone, has massively boosted Russian military prestige. Nord Sea II and China’s Belt and Road Initiative are helping cure or prop up the Russian economy . Incidentally, apparently US/EU sanctions seem to have actually helped Russian agriculture. Talk about the US shooting themselves in the foot!

    he divides and weakens his opponents.
    He does not need to. They can do that themselves very effectively. In most cases he is probably following Napoleon’s dictum, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”. I can see him sitting back in his dacha outside Moscow quietly chuckling to himself as he watches the various dogfights.

    Putin also has a rather wry or sardonic sense of humour and I suspect some of his remarks during that annual Q & A were intended to scandalize at some of the more wide-eyed and credulous Westerners just for the fun of it. For example, his referring to Trump as “Donald”. Or the UK “will of the people”.

    Sheer mischief--making for the hell of it. It is almost impossible to add to the confusion and bedlam once called political Washington. He might not mind trying if it was needed but why bother when they are doing so well on their own?

    The West, the USA and the UK in particular have gotten to the point that they will blame anything (probably including the weather) on Russia when most of what is happening is their own idiocy in action. This does pose the serious problem, though, like “The boy who cried wolf” if Russia is really seriously doing something how does one pick it out of the massive amount of background noise where you get all sort of insanity.

    I think I will start the rumour that Vladimir Putin and Hilary Clinton were equal partners in PizzaGate. It should sell faster than real pizza.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *