Article by: Yury Savitsky
Warsaw – Mikhail Kasyanov, a former Russian Prime Minister and one of the leaders of the Russian opposition, met with the Polish intelligentsia in Warsaw. According to Kasyanov, a significant worsening of the economic situation in Russia will take place already by the end of the year, and the next 1,5-2 years will be decisive for the political future of the entire Russian Federation. To hold onto his power in this difficult situation Putin needs an external enemy. Kremlin has selected Ukraine to fill this position of the enemy, Kasyanov said.
When talking about the current situation in Russia in Warsaw, Mikhail Kasyanov dedicated a signifiant part of his speech to the situation in Ukraine. According to him, Putin received a mandate of sorts for aggression against Ukraine in 2008, after the war with Georgia. According to the Russian opposition leader, the West’s toothless policies de-facto untied Putin’s hands. Kasyanov poses a rhetorical question as to the reasons for Russian aggression against Ukraine: “What is Putin’s goal in Ukraine? Without doubt, his main goal is to retain power inside the country. In order to preserve power, he needs an external enemy and victories in war.”
Kasyanov says that in the given situation the biggest help to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia would be the unity of the EU, the U.S. and Canada. These countries, says the politician, should consecutively maintain that the annex of Crimea had been illegal, and demand that all Russian troops retreat from Ukraine.
Putin is shocked by Western sanctions
Kasyanov claims that Putin is shocked by the sanctions imposed by western states. He says the Kremlin hoped that the West would silently swallow aggression against Ukraine, just like it happened with the war against Georgia. The Russian President, taught by the KGB, thinks that everything in this world can be bought. He does not believe that values such as human rights, freedom and democracy are really important for western politicians.
“Putin does not believe in this. He is very worried and he is in a state of shock because even Angela Merkel in Germany, to whom he dedicated so much of his attention, giving very profitable contracts to German companies, signed the sanctions,” explains the Russian opposition leader.
According to Kasyanov, Putin has an advantage over the West as he is unpredictable, he is a tyrant of sorts. The Russian President considers western politicians weak, as in contrast to himself, they have to consult and accord their decisions.
“De facto we see that there are given characteristics of a regime which is being transformed from an authoritarian regime into a regime with elements of fascism. It is very reminiscent of the regimes of Mussolini and Franco,” notes Kasyanov.
When talking about the possible scenarios of how events would unfold in Russia, Kasyanov names two of those he finds most probable.
“One of them, which I find to be the most terrible and unacceptable is the deepening of the fascist regime characteristics in Russia. I hope this doesn’t happen. As to the second scenario, I think Putin is not a madman and he should be aware that he lost in his bluffing and these maneuvers, who he should seek a strategy to escape the situation,” says Mikhail Kasyanov.
According to him, at the end of the current year, occurrences will already be visible in the Russian economy which would later cause a collapse. Western sanctions serve to speed up the deep economic crisis in the Russian Federation. Throughout the next 1,5-2 years the fate of the Russian state will be decided, in which one can anticipate tendencies of the federation’s separation.
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Source: Radio Liberty