Sunday, 19 May 2013

Biographer Masha Gessen: Vladimir Putin is "a ruthless dictator" who is in the "last stages of his regime"

Masha Gessen, the Moscow based journalist holding both Russian and US citizenship, has written an unofficial and highly critical biography of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Today she was interviewed by Susan Wood of New Zealand's TVnz.:

SUSAN          How much of a threat is Putin to the Western world, to the rest of us?
MASHA          Well, think about it. It’s one-sixth of the Earth’s landmass, it has more nuclear warheads than any other country except for the United States and it is in possession of a large part of the world’s supply of oil and gas. And it is run by a ruthless dictator who openly shows and tells that he is temperamental and he has trouble controlling his temper.
SUSAN          How long will he stay in power? I mean, you’re talking about a man who will stop at nothing to keep it, really, aren’t you?
MASHA          I think he is in the last stages of his regime. Those last stages, those agonising and miserable last stages can last a while. But this is the final act. He no longer has popular support. He has had to resort to a crackdown to keep power. Now it’s a question of how stable oil prices remain and whether there’s an economic crisis that causes the whole thing to boil over. That could happen in a year, it could happen in five years.
SUSAN          Yeah, so hard to predict, but you would be predicting a violent, some sort of violence to the end of Vladimir Putin?
MASHA          Well, the more and the tighter he puts on the screws, the more pressure there is on people and the less of the probability of a peaceful outcome.
Gessen is spot on about Putin's dangerousness. Of course everybody, including Obama, Merkel and Cameron, knows that the man is a ruthless dictator, but they have to tread very carefully, because they know that he controls the world's second largest arsenal of nuclear warheads as well as Russia's huge energy resources. Still, as Gessen rightly points out, the dictator is in the "last stages of his regime". 
Read the entire interview her.

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