Staunton, May 16 – For the last decade or more, Vladimir Putin has sought to transform the world in which the United States is the preeminent power into a multi-polar one in which no one power is dominant all the time and therefore one in which Russia, reduced in power since Soviet times, has more opportunities for successful maneuver, Sergey Shelin says.
The multi-polar world Putin has so long sought has now appeared at least in part, the Rosbalt commentator says; but it has “not brought happiness” to the Kremlin. “And in the longer term, it has not created new chances to increase the power” of the Russian Federation (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2018/05/15/1703229.html).
“On the contrary,” he continues, “those moves which Vladimir Putin has practiced in international politics give a particular effect only as long as other players do not apply them. But now with the coming of multipolarity, many if not all conduct themselves as he has. It is good to be audacious when one is the only one being so. But when everyone is?”
In the old world that Putin has overturned, “not only force but rules observed more or less by the majority, had significance. But in a multi-polar world, the situation is [different].” Now, the national leader who can organize a group to support him, however unexpected it may be, is in the driver’s seat.
“But the ability of the Kremlin to create strong coalitions was never very great,” Shelin says. “The break with Ukraine led besides everything else to the weakening of ties with the main official allies – Kazakhstan and Belarus … And today even such a small satellite as Armenia can change its regime” without Moscow being able to risk coming down against it.
Putin’s “dream has been achieved in large measure,” but it hasn’t brought many benefits.” Instead, Russia has had to unite with those whom the majority view as outcasts and to deal with those who earlier stood at a lower level as equals such as Ankara and Tehran. And Moscow has even had to put up with those it would prefer not to.
But what is most surprising of all, the Rosbalt commentator says, is that Putin has not turned to war near and war or sought to show “’soft power’” as a way of promoting Russia’s interests. Instead, he has led the country into a new period of “self-isolation,” hardly the triumph he expected.