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Putins fatal weakness
Written by   
, 27 2011

181

Iam shocked by the tragedy. Igrieve for the victims of this terrorist attack, and Iexpress my deepest condolences to all the victims, as well as their families and friends. Ibelieve it to be necessary to declare a national day of mourning: to mourn for the victims in the whole of Russia. Grief unites all of us from St. Petersburg to the Caucasus.
Everything that has been happening in Russia in recent years gives me grounds to expect that this terrorist attack will be perceived by the Russian people as just another stage in the war waged by Russia against terrorists from the North Caucasus. Eleven years ago, a Chechen incursion into Dagestan and the bombings of Moscow apartment buildings prompted an aging and ailing Yeltsin to transfer power early to a young and energetic Putin, making him a virtually uncontested candidate in the 2000presidential election. Putin came to power as the representative of the power bloc (the leadership of the intelligence and security services, as well as the armed forces ed). Hepromised the restoration of public order, security, and stability. Muscovites were able to appreciate the success of this work on January 24th.
The weakness of Mr. Putin and his comrades in the power bloc is that the politicians do put any effort into gaining the trust of the Russian people, which would arise as a natural result of their confidence in the protection of their fundamental rights and freedoms. Thepower bloc has an infinite capacity to solve government issues in a ‘willful’ manner that is often contrary to the law, and guided by its own notion of expediency. Theresult of such a policy is pervasive corruption, an expansion of the security agencies, and the general degradation of the State. Noneof the propaganda efforts of the Putin-controlled media can compensate for the real vulnerability of Russia’s citizens. Itis this sense of insecurity that destroys our nation’s fragile civil peace, and sends the ultra-nationalists and the opposition out into the streets. Itis the fear for one’s own life that incites hatred against the ‘foreign born’ among our young extremists. Itis the fear of ‘others’ that is the source of the ethnic tension, such as what burst to the surface on Manege Square on December 11th, 2010(a large-scale riot that followed the shooting death of engineer and soccer fan Yegor Sviridov by an immigrant from the North Caucasus ed).
The desire of many politicians to act as Russia’s defender in this situation has played a cruel joke on them. Putin’s gesture in laying flowers on the grave of Yegor Sviridov was perceived by the young extremists as a carte blanche to take the law into their own hands. Meanwhile, feeling like outcasts, youths from the Caucasus living in Russian cities began to look for ways to form a collective counter-force against the violence of the street gangs. Inthe muddy and bloody waters of Russian city streets, all sorts of politicians were attracted to these inter-ethnic confrontations: both from the ruling party, and the opposition. Themost scandalous effort to attract the nationalist electorate to his side was Vladimir Solovev’s performance on the TV talk show ‘Duel’. OnJanuary 20th, LDPR leader Zhirinovsky caused official indignation on the part of the leaders of Chechnya and Dagestan. After Zhirinovsky’s crude attacks, Iwould not be surprised if an investigation reveals that this provokes a terrorist attack against Russian citizens living in Chechnya and Dagestan. Vladimir Volfovich (Zhirinovsky) has provided a golden opportunity for terrorists to step into the role of defenders of the people of the Caucasus.
Putin and his associates considered all earlier terrorist attacks against Russian citizens not as signals to revise their obviously ineffective policies, but as excuses to further restrict democracy and once again increase the power of his once again discredited power bloc. Theterrorist attack at Domodedovo, apparently, is no exception. Howfar will the leaders of the United Russia party have to go this time in the ‘restoration of constitutional order’? Whatawaits the citizens of Russia this time a state of emergency and canceled elections with the triumphant return of our ‘national leader’ to the presidency? Afurther escalation of ethnic tensions makes such a development extremely probable.
I urge all politicians, both those in power and in the opposition, to take note of and denounce the use of xenophobia as a tool for consolidating and uniting the electorate. Politicians must think about how to move the nation away from the brink, and not just about how to preserve or increase their power at any cost for it is not they who pay the price, but the people. Theypay it in their own blood.
By Alexander Vinnikov, in ‘Grani.ru’

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