Putin's Not-Quite-Withdrawal Signifies a Strategic Retreat

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Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Putin's Not-Quite-Withdrawal Signifies a Strategic Retreat, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 21 March.

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​Russians remain fearful of change—though are also suspicious that the change they fear is already upon them.

​The only recipe from this unhealthy angst has been distraction, and now the Kremlin has to invent a new one—preferably before Russia’s remaining “footprint” in Syria brings home a second painful setback (the first one was the downing of a Russian bomber by a Turkish fighter last November). The problem is not only that the costs of producing effective distractions has become barely affordable but also that each of the previous distractions remains a burden and a liability. Putin has become a hostage to his own surprises and has no way of knowing how the next one may backfire.

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