Friday, 31 December 2010
The Guardian´s Simon Tisdall has published a good description of Putin´s Russia:
In modern-day Russia, challenging Putin is like standing in front of a tank. Either get out of the way or expect – sooner or later – to be flattened.
And Tisdall has some other good points:
A physically small man who compensates by working out and pursuing outdoor sports, he appeared by turns arrogant, insecure, angry and resentful. It could explain his aggression towards those who criticise him.
Whatever the reasons, he has frequently exported personal animus into the foreign arena, too. The 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia followed a long, vindictive dispute between Putin and the Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili.
Much the same poisonous dynamic applied in Putin's dealing with Ukraine's former Orange Revolution leader, Viktor Yushchenko.
On issues such as European missile defence, Kosovo's independence and the row with Britain over Alexander Litvinenko's murder in London in 2006, Putin often appeared to take things personally – and rather badly at that.
In other cases, he would co-opt rather than confront, as he has managed to do with weaker individuals such as Germany's former chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Italy's PM Silvio Berlsuconi.
By refusing to back down, Khodorkovsky has become the latest in a long line of opponents to fall foul of Putin's vendetta politics. It is likely that he will not be the last.