The greatly reduced level of internal terrorist threat is translated into gradually shifting foreign policy guidelines that increasingly aim at securing for Russia a position of “neutrality” in the main theaters of the U.S.-led war against terror.
Counter-terrorism has remained the trademark theme of Putin’s regime for the last seven years, beginning August 9, 1999, when Yeltsin appointed the little-known apparatchik to be prime minister and his designated successor. Apparently, the Kremlin has decided that the usefulness of this topic has been exhausted and a more flexible line would be more appropriate for the period of “peace and prosperity” that is planned to culminate in the transfer of power to a new hand-picked successor. The problem is that cultivating the “never-better” beliefs fed by the inflow of “petro-rubles” is the political equivalent of laying a self-made trap that tends to spring at the most inopportune moment. One thing Putin’s team has never been good at is handling crises; his courtiers have apparently decided that the next one would never happen. History suggests this optimism is misplaced.
Read it in Eurasia Daily Monitor