Putin Incinerates his Country
Let’s be absolutely clear: The wildfires that have swept through Russia, killed dozens, wiped out billions in property, and severely constrained the Russian economy, did not just happen on Vladimir Putin’s watch. That would be bad enough, and grounds for his ouster. But it is much worse: These fires are the direct result of Putin’s horrific policies.
Specifically, four years ago Putin gutted the Russian forest protection service. He did so in order to give his fat-cat oligarch pals unfettered access to the forests for logging purposes, and almost certainly received a rich reward for doing so. Putin’s actions left the government totally unable to prevent the wildfires from occurring, and totally unable to stop them once they started.
Putin’s response to the crisis has been to fire the head of the forestry service. This utterly shameless action begs the question: What about Putin? Even if the head of the forestry service deserved blame, and we see none whatsoever, who was responsible for supervising this man? Nobody but Vladimir Putin! Does anyone doubt that Putin as president would have fired the prime minister in this case? Nobody can. Yet, Medvedev has not even gone so far as to criticize Putin’s performance or his policies, clearly indicating that it is Putin, not Medvedev, who runs the country — and who does so with abject impunity.
And what does that means for Russians? It means Putin will simply go on with his corrupt, failed policies, driving the nation to new lows of failure and ultimate collapse.
We have the proof of that right in this very issue: The indispensable Paul Goble shows how Putin is gutting Russian cultural protections in order to serve the interests of Gazprom.
What the world must ask itself is simple: It is known that Russia is one of the most corrupt nations on the planet. Anyone who has visited Russia knows this without question. The police, the prosecutors, the highest levels of government are openly for sale. Is Vladimir Putin personally immune from this corruption?
The answer of any thinking person can only be: Of course not. Putin is, like every other Russian, selling out the country for personal gain. And Putin also has his personal ideology of hatred of all Western values to fall back on as well, motivating him to squander precious Russian resources rather than use them to better his nation.
Meanwhile, the lemming-like denizens of Russia do nothing, allowing their nation to be pushed ever closer to the abyss.