Where Has Putin Led the Country?

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

26th February, 2016


“One of my regular readers from Ukraine asked me about Putin: “Well, what has he brought to the country before 2016?” He was referring to the problems in the economy — especially low oil prices and cheap ruble,” – said Pavel Shipilin

I thought my answer may be interesting not only to those who asked, because I have tried briefly to articulate their own vision of the situation in which we find ourselves.

Indeed, what was Russia before 2016?

Crimea — first and foremost.

The southern border is well protected, we are the masters of the Black sea, and the United States were deprived of the opportunity to threaten the balance of power in the region — integrating Ukraine into NATO and deploying its fleet into Sevastopol instead of ours. It is difficult to imagine that any new economic sanctions can affect the sensation of security.

Crimea would have been enough to answer the question.

But there is also a new base in the Mediterranean. Moreover, not only naval, but air. And the United States have adopted with Russia a joint statement on the settlement in Syria. Putin forced them to work with us to resolve the situation in the Middle East, where we have interests.

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Moreover, it is not only about ISIS or the gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe. Our interest is the return of the former status of the UN, which must be the only pole hegemonic of the world. Not USA, not Russia and not China.

Today the problem of the opposition in Syria is not engaged by the “international coalition”, where it is unknown what rights they were created with, but by the United Nations Security Council. Russia and the US are co-chairs of the International support group in Syria. And this group, unlike the coalition, do not aim to overthrow Assad; it is stated in all the papers that the country’s fate will be determined by the Syrian people. That, of course, is right.

That means a reformatting of the world took place, and it is much safer. With the personal participation of Putin, I note.

The Ukrainian horizon is not able to assess all these achievements. Your level is the price of oil, which is today one thing, and tomorrow another. And the base in Crimea and Syria have been and will remain ours – expensive oil makes it harder to live, and easier when cheaper.

You have yet to learn that the state does not live for today. They have long term interests and objectives that sometimes are achieved with problems. However, if we bear in mind the present, it is not catastrophic.

Russia is not Ukraine, they troll us with the bill for the name change on the nation to raise self-esteem and believe that the day is lived not in vain. But no matter how many power lines you blow up, no matter how long you blockade the market for private agricultural producers, Crimea will never come back to you.

Whilst Ukraine is a country of ephemera, it can’t think in terms of eternity (like every normal state is going to exist forever, and there will be nothing else), or even a couple of decades ahead. Hence your strange, strange question for us: “What has he brought to Russia before 2016?”

With that in mind, in 2116 there will be fewer problems, that’s what.

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