The mass consciousness of Russians not simply accepted but was delighted and transformed into a cult of national pride the annexation of Crimea, the aggressive war in the east of Ukraine and the mass murder of the citizens of Syria,” Yakovenko says.  This all means that “Russia is a very sick country.” 

 

 

President Donald Trump can prattle on about what he calls “fake news,” but Vladimir Putin goes Trump one better by arranging his opponents for the presidency into fake candidates and non-candidates. With Gennady Zuganov having ruled out another ineffective electoral outing, Putin can depend on Vladimir Zhirinovsky to lead the mostly octogenarian Liberal Dems as a cheering section for his bombastic buffoonery. However, the one candidate who could give Putin a run for his money, Alexei Navalny [pictured], is almost certain to be ruled off the ballot – to avoid possible embarrassment to the eventual winner – and President for Life – or until he gets bored with the job, Vladimir Putin.

Pastukhov [pictured] concludes, “Present day Russian politics reminds one of a computer game: in it, there are many levels, and one must not jump to the next level without fulfilling the program of the previous one.”

 

The Russian habit of appropriating the so-called Great Patriotic War as a glorious victory accomplished by brave Russian-speaking patriots has become more intense under the Putin regime with Moscow thundering threats against anyone who – in its mind – defames Russia and Russians by removing some of the grandiose, self-congratulatory memorials that were planted all over the Soviet Union soon after the war. Putin conveniently forgets that the hardest decision for millions of European and Eurasian citizens was which tyrannical dictator to fight, Adolph Hitler – or Josef Stalin.

 

Photo: Vladimir Putin (left) with Tatar President Rustam Minnikhanov (right) in Kazan in 2012

“Like the tsar and most of the world a century ago, Putin and his regime still operate under the principles of zones of influence defined in territorial terms. They have failed to recognize that in the world today, the true zones of influence are not about territorial acquisition and control but rather about the spread of influence.  As a result, Moscow has frequently miscalculated and alienated others.”

 

The bill before the U.S. Congress that would limit President Trump’s ability to remove Russia sanctions seems certain to further confuse an already difficult international situation. President Trump will soon be presented the final version of the bill for his signature of approval – or a veto. The votes by which the measure passed the House and the Senate suggests that Trump is unlikely to hazard a veto that would almost certainly be overridden. No matter how many twists and turns we will see, there seem to be no off-ramps on this Road to Chaos.

The Putin regime is famous for railing against Nazi’s and Nazism. That has no impact on their habit of following the Nazi “Big Lie” precept. Case in point. Putin continues to argue that federalism is a brilliant government plan – while removing the last vestiges of federalism from the so-called Russian Federation. However, Putin remains a very firm believer in federalism – for Ukraine – as his bright idea to keep Ukraine weak and fragmented.

Vladimir Putin seems to have won his battle to keep his Middle Eastern surrogate, Bashir al-Assad, in power and now he appears ready to take on moving the immovable object that Ukraine may prove to be. 

The Power Vertical Briefing is a short look ahead to the stories expected to make news in the coming week. 

 

Photo: A Ukrainian serviceman on the front lines near Avdiyivka

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