Paul Goble writes: Despite the initial euphoria promoted by the Kremlin’s propaganda effort, ever more Russians appear to be concerned that what Vladimir Putin has done in Crimea, however good it made them feel in the short term, may have bad consequences for themselves, their country, and even for those who have backed this annexation.
On RBCDaily.ru, Vladislav Inozemtsev, the director of the Center for Research on Post-Industral Society, says that Russia “will pay dearly” for its Crimean action. Not only will it have to spend 4-5 billion US dollars a year on the peninsula, but it will face expanded capital flight, declining reserves, and increased inflation.
Because of these threats and to protect its own power, he continues, “the Kremlin, not waiting for US and EU sanctions has begun on its own to erect around itself ‘an iron curtain,’” a move that Inozemtsev says will only “accelerate the fall of the Putin model of administration” by adding to the woes of the Russian people.
Domestic investment will decline at an accelerating rate as a result of Putin’s “protectionist” policies, and consequently, there is no reason to hope for the revival of domestic industrial production. And the more steps the Kremlin takes which isolate it from the world, the faster the decline will be.
“The rest of the world is dangerous [for Russians] by its successes rather than by its threats. If anyone has forgotten, the Soviet Union collapsed when no one was threatening it but when the lack of any prospects for its authoritarian model became obvious” to everyone, Inozemtsev says.
According to the researcher, for the Kremlin, “Crimea is more important than economic success, but that isn’t necessarily true for the Russian population or a guarantee for the regime’s stability and survival. “In the Kremlin, they are convinced that it is, [but] the leaders of the USSR in the middle of March 1991were certain of the same thing.” [Continue reading…]