Putin Leans on Russian ‘Grandeur,’ Leaving Russians Vexed

04 Sep 2019

(EDM) The end of summer 2019 found Russian President Vladimir Putin busy with high international politics. He is no longer riding with aging bikers in Crimea or making pilgrimage to the Valaammonastery together with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Instead, he traveled to France and Finland as well as met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while preparing to greet prominent Asian guests at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok later this week (September 4–6). These high-level engagements are supposed to reaffirm Russia’s status as a major international player, but the disgruntled domestic audience is paying scant attention to this new polish on the fading regalia of “greatness,” resentful of the Kremlin’s insufficient attention to its grievances (Rosbalt, August 27). Approaching the 20-year mark of his mastery over Russian politics, Putin regularly behaves as if the problems he chooses to ignorecease to exist; this approach at the top, in turn, undermines his subordinates, who discover that they lack the authority to act (Republic.ru, August 30). [...]

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