Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Putin Rex: S. Ivanov's resignation and the rise of Putin as "The Tsar" - by Michael Novakhov

Putin Rex: Putin 2 as Putin The Tsar, naturally... 

Ukraine's Savchenko Condemns Russian ‘Slave Mentality’

Is V. Putin moving to the old, familiar, traditional Russian - the personal dictatorship, the "Czar model" of governing? Did Sergey Ivanov issue his decisive "NYET!" to the war with Ukraine and the West? What is Putin cooking? And who will have to consume the meal? These are the "hot days of August" in Moscow, traditionally the time of impending political turmoil: Russia's Putin sacks chief of staff Sergei Ivanov - BBC News | Ukraine troops on high alert amid growing tension with Russia - CNN.com

Hypothesis: Did S. Ivanov resign, abruptly and dramatically, to protest and prevent the planned and upcoming incursion and war with Ukraine (and the West), the Putin's next, adventuristic, paranoid, but (and if paradoxically), calculated and pragmatic move (a replay of the recent Russo-Georgian war of 2008), directed, at least in part, at boosting the oil prices at this critical juncture; among other aims? 

"Слишком неожиданно, не было никаких сигналов. Отсюда логично предположить: это снятие не готовилось, а произошло спонтанно, вероятно, из-за того, что Иванов выступил против каких-то идей Путина. Возможно, речь о новой эскалации по Украине. Внезапное увольнение состоялось сразу после вчерашней встречи с постоянными членами Совбеза."
Andrey Piontkovsky has the same opinion: "Очевидно, это связано с вчерашним заседанием СНБО, на котором они пытались обсудить стратегию в отношении Украины и скорее всего Иванов высказал какую-то точку зрения, которая не полностью совпала с путинским мнениям, что и вылилось в его отставку."

This is a major, significant reshuffle and realignment
S. Ivanov might still emerge a victor and on the top if the relatively moderate forces prevail. If they don't, another "relatively moderate", M. Fradkov, might be next. Two of them: S. Ivanov and M. Fradkov probably are the somewhat of a "tandem", and possibly are  and were conducting their own line of operations, invisible but important. 
Did he resign to take the blame for something that possibly went wrong with these operations (possibly, support for Trump, DNC and other hacks and possibly other operations, hypothetically) and to deflect this blame from Putin personally (according to the "bull vs. Jupiter" rule)? 

"Вот эта истерика случайных дней вызвана очень крупными неудачами. Прежде всего, это провал кандидатуры Трампа, который плотно окружен российскими агентами. Россия ставила на него очень большую ставку." 

The story with firing the whole Baltic Fleet leadership comes to mind: they were blamed in the western and the Russian press for, on the one hand, buzzing the NATO ships in an unsafe manner, and on the other, after firing, of not doing it enough and not following Putin's orders to do it more frequently. One dramatic action, in a masterstroke, satisfied both, diametrically opposed camps, and the punishment was metered out for one, both, or neither of these transgressions, and since the truth is not really known, everybody is allowed to think and guess about the motives according to their own preferences. Russian-Byzantine political high art. 

"Глеб Павловский полагает, что отставка Иванова — это признак общего политического ослабления администрации президента и свидетельство того, что «такой институт, как круг политических друзей Путина, перестал существовать». 

photo: kremlin.ru

"One of the most discussed in the press the events of the last years of Sergei Ivanov to the post of head of the administration was meeting with Hollywood star Pamela Anderson. They discussed the problems of ecology and protection of animals. 
Is it... [the reason, humorous but with many implications, that - M.N.]  now Ivanov was appointed special presidential envoy for environmental issues, ecology and transport."[? - M.N.]

Did he resign as the result of his anti-corruption drive (he himself was called "uncorrupted" in the Russian press) and the attacks by the powerful kleptocracy, especially from those recently purged, attacks by "oligarchs" and others with similar interests? 

What is the role of the FSB and the related, and among them, the newly created structures, in this affair - S. Ivanov's resignation and in the recent purges? 

Was he "mentally exhausted" after the mysterious death of his son about two years ago, as some papers claim? 

Did he intend to deny Putin his own personal support and assistance (he turned the President's Administration into a powerful political machine and his own political stature was a part of it), because he started to disagree with his policies in principle? 

All of the above in various degrees? 
None of the above? 
What is the explanation? 

S. Ivanov retained his permanent member seat in the Russian Security Council and could exercise his influence there possibly even more than before if he indeed switched to the "loyal opposition" to Putin. Putin and the others on his Security Council are smart enough to value and appreciate this type of the opposition which one day might save his and others' skin, by preventing them from going too far. People like S. Ivanov are responsible enough to push their point at the expense of their personal and professional careers. If this hypothesis is correct. Their facial (and the tones of the verbal) expressions on their "goodbye video" revealed, as I saw it, the Ivanov's sorrowful disapproval and Putin's barely concealed, condescending but still respectful disdain. 

"Vaino is not the worst appointment, but he is not a political figure," former Kremlin adviser Gleb Pavlovsky said, noting that Ivanov would keep his seat on Putin's Security Council and hence a degree of influence." 

The directly opposite interpretation, in principle, is also possible: S. Ivanov was more hawkish (but unlikely so in the Ukrainian matters) than Putin could afford at this time, especially if it did not pay off, and someone had to take the blame. 

It is also possible that there were (and are!) the two competing strategies of meddling into the US elections and political life and S. Ivanov (possibly with the SVR) represented the "Infiltration from above" strategy, in this case, the special operations with Trump, apparently long standing. Another strategy might be called "Stir up the troubles from the bottom": fear of terrorism, manipulations of masses and media, racial and other types of civil unrest and wars. The supporters and conductors of this strategy are a guess open to speculations, just like the previous ones, but it would not be surprising if this more overtly aggressive approach is favored by the GRU and the related groups. These strategies are not mutually exclusive but complementary to each other, the competition between them might be mainly in the allocation of resources. The expose' of Trump's Russian ties, DNC and other hacks and their resulting effects might be viewed as a relative defeat of the first, (hypothetically, the "Ivanov's strategy"), and the unforgivable violation of the rule: "Do not get caught"
Whatever the immediate precursors, the alienation between Putin and his chief of staff was probably building up for some time prior to resignation and this might reflect, among other factors ("Panama Papers" hypothetical effect on S. Ivanov and his camp, for example), mainly Putin's change of priorities and selection of personnel. 

The impressions of the change of guard at the Putin's court are shared and stressed by many observers. The "circling of wagons" around Putin continues, after the major reorganization of security forces and strengthening and centering of his "praetorian guards". 

Were Medvedev's positions relatively strengthened by this move? 

«Очевидно, что питерцы, кооператив „Озеро“ и Чемезов (глава ГК „Ростех“. — Ред.) ослабляются. Замена тяжеловеса Иванова на профессионального бюрократа может привести к уменьшению роли Администрации президента. Это соответственно усиливает правительство Медведева», — сказал Тихонов."

Is this a sign of Putin's growing weakness and the loss of support, after the departure of major figures, V. Yakunin among them? 

Is the internecine, "under the rugs" power struggle in the Kremlin in a full swing? 

What will be the role of "apolitical" Shoigu

What will be the role of Russian General Staff?

These are the "hot days of August" in Moscow, traditionally the time of impending political turmoil. 
No wonder Putin canceled his August vacation this year. Did he get the  wind that "something might be cooking"? Does he try to "cook" something himself? 

Front pages of Russian (L) and Ukrainian (R) newspapers

Shoigu habitually displays his watch, as if in prodding: "time is of the essence..." 

Russia: Putin accepts Ivanov’s resignation as Head of the Presidential Administration


Cartoon by Sergey Elkin

"For most of Putin's long rule, he was essentially the front man for an oligarchic elite -- the so-called "collective Putin" -- that effectively ruled Russia.
Like the Soviet general secretaries, Putin was first among equals, to be sure. He was the key figure and the decider. But he had to find consensus and balance among the Kremlin's competing clans and among the dozen or so figures in his "politburo."
But we don't hear much about the "collective Putin" or "Putin's Politburo" anymore.
And that is because, in recent years, the Kremlin leader has moved away from a collective leadership model to one centered on the leader himself.
"If until recently, the system acted in the interests of the bureaucracy, now, it does so ever more in the interests of the leader," Moscow-based political analyst Nikolai Petrov wrote in Vedomosti.

According to Petrov, Putin is effectively abandoning an elite personnel policy resembling Leonid Brezhnev's "stability of cadres" approach and toward one reminiscent of Josef Stalin's -- minus, of course, the mass executions of ousted officials."

The Kremlin's Game Of Thrones (UPDATED)



There is a cultural-ethnic slant, always important in Russia,  to all of this (S. Ivanov's resignation, purges, the change of elites, the issue of Putin's personal corruption, the elections, etc.): a Slav Ivanov vs. a "Tatarin" Volodin and his cohorts of the replacements newly directed to Moscow from the provinces. Ivanov will not allow aggression against Slavic Ukraine, Volodin will protect Putin with his cohorts, no matter what, as if he were a Genghis Khan. As if the gravitational center of the Russian Empire continued to drift eastward, to Asia; defensively and under attack; the centuries old process, spurred by the revolutions and wars. 
The rekindled romance between the sultanates of Turkey and Russia provides the timely backdrop.

Michael Novakhov - 8.12-15.16. 


Godfather Theme Extended

No comments:

Post a Comment