Sunday, May 08, 2005

Just Who Is Putin Talking To?

In the past couple of weeks, Vladimir Putin has made a series of public statements bemoaning the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of Moscow's authority over its former provinces.

Most recently, and ridiculously, Putin argued that the Soviet presence in the Baltic states was completely cooperative and in no way coercive, a view angrily repudiated by the leadership of the newly independent Baltic states.

I can't believe that Putin expected any other response from the Baltic states, where the Red Army was killing separatists as late as 1989.

I have to think he's preaching to the choir, in the same manner that Al Gore rants to leftist college students, or Hugo Chavez calling for leftist revolution within the United States.

What strikes me about this: it's a tactic of desperation. It's acknowledging you haven't a prayer of expanding your base of supporters, so you might as well ramp up the energy of your minority.

Until this week, I hadn't considered Putin's situation in Russia as being desperate. He apparently thinks so, if the best use of his bully pulpit is to invite derision on the international stage.

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