The “Russian march,” a series of rallies planned for Saturday, November 4, by several nationalist organizations, motley extremist groupings, and a few State Duma deputies, alarmed not only marginalized liberals but also mainstream commentators and the whole crowd of Kremlin lackeys.
The new ideas about re-constituting state control and restoring Russia’s power and international prestige boil down to two simple points: Russia is very rich in energy resources and Putin is enormously popular among the electorate. The first point is increasingly undermined by the stagnation in the oil-and-gas sector and the looming winter energy shortages that trigger questions about the “sacred” export contracts. The second point sits well with the glorification of Russian traditions of highly centralized power, but it is inevitably punctured by Putin’s firmly announced intention to step down in spring 2008 as prescribed by the constitution. There is nothing else to leave as political base for the yet-unknown successor. The continuity of the regime is problematic, because nobody can tell what Putin’s Russia is about -- except spending oil revenues.
Read it in Eurasia Daily Monitor