News 26 october — 12:31

Sasha Sotnik: ‘Russian Empire lives out its last years’ (Exclusive)

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BY AZERI DAILY MOSCOW BUREAU

What is the real rating of Vladimir Putin? What is the future of Russia? Independent TV-journalist Aleksandr (known as Sasha) Sotnik, who heads his own Sotnik TV Internet-project, answered these and other questions in an interview to Azeri Daily.

Q. President of Russia Vladimir Putin’s approval rating reached 89.9% to establish a new record, according to the press-release of the All-Russian centre for study of public opinion. Do you believe these figures, and is it possible to trust figures of this centre and other organisations in charge of public opinion polls in Russia?

A. ‘Polls’ carried on by this centre or Levada-centre are untrustworthy. You do not believe a Gypsy who tells your ‘truth’ for money, do you? If yes, more is the pity for you. Why should we believe companies servicing Putin’s administration? True, after I learned figures presented by the centre, I am at ease about this organisation: it will be funded very well next year, though I sympathise with these ‘sociologists’: they are limited to 100% of rating, while our blessed Central Election Commission headed by Churov may refer to 146% at the election. Churov and his election committees are lucky devils!

Q. Deepening economic problems of the Russians is beyond any doubts. It is also obvious that the situation is changing for the worse. Why does Putin’s rating remain so high or you doubt that it is high?

A. It is not high. In my view, his real rating ranges between 20 to 30%, if not lower. I know functionaries, who are horror-struck with current developments in Russia and consequences of this pernicious course. However, none of them ever risks to tell the truth openly.

Still, this is not contrary to the fact that Putin’s support has never been high, even in the period of oil boom. Then it reached 50%, it is indisputable. But it hardly was higher due to non-publicity of this person. The point is that he has never taken part in open debates preferring to control the whole situation. At the same time, he proved to be not so hot manager. Thus, he failed profits from high oil prices, let the country be ransacked, drove it into impasse, embroiled it into a permanent war and now is unaware of how to get out of the quagmire.

Q. What is your view on the Russian opposition? Is there any opposition in Russia as a force to enjoy support in society?

A. Opposition in Russia is split and dissolved. ‘Protest with balloons’ failed to oust ‘chekists’ (security officers) from the Kremlin, it is obvious. To oppose power-holding officers, one must use the same strong-arm tactics, as they do, otherwise, they will nip any protest in the bud. In other words, the previous ‘non-system opposition’ ceased to exist in Russia. There is just a fractured mass of discontent, so it is hard to say when they are going to unite their ranks.

The most deplorable fact is that no unifying platform is available so far. It is easy to say that ‘I’m standing up for removing all Putin’s gang,’ and most of Russian population will agree with this. But a question arises ‘What or who will replace them?’ There is no answer. If answered, we shall witness a new impetuously developing protest of the renewed opposition.

Q. What do you think of intra-political developments in Russia in the nearest perspective?

A. At present, Russia is standing still pending something awful. Many people realise that something has to take place in the country. But nobody knows what it is. It is a sixth sense to mirror groggy conditions of cop-outs in Russia.

Further complicating the case is a feeling of catastrophic development of economic and political calamity. There is an understanding that ‘we have been successful in overcoming irrevocability point,’ so this behemoth would never get off the ground unless shaken strongly. Accrued entropy ends in explosion, volcanic eruption following which terrible fiery lava is out-thrown. Pending this event, the country is stupored fearing to lose imaginary balance. Why is imaginary? Because the Kremlin is doing its utmost to loosen the situation. These include incessant military adventures, tightening of punitive system, embroilment with the world community and resultant isolation, inflation and unemployment. One day all these will reach a critical mass, and then blow up.

Q. What’s your view on the Crimean issue resolution?

A. No problem of the Crimea may be settled under the current Russian leadership. There is just a single slogan ‘Crimea is ours’ and ‘we shall give it to no one.’ This dumb stubbornness and veritably ‘babyism’ of the Russian leaders are brick in the wall of all-Russian deadlock.

Q. Do you agree with allegation that all ‘frozen’ conflicts in the post-Soviet space, including the Karabakh one, would have long been settled without Russia’s impact?

A. All politicians are sporting with controversies, and the Kremlin is not exception to the rule. A question lies in the system nature of thinking and ability to line up a correct strategy. Putin proved once again that he is in no position to think strategically, and if he gets down to remedying the situation, it results in an ugly hybrid unsuitable for everybody.

Q. And the final question. What would Russia be, if its leaders did not stake at imperial ambitions and the concept of USSR’s reanimation?

A. The history abhors the subjunctive mood. What happened, happened. Imperial Russia is an atavism on the political map of the globe. Personally, I’m confident that no one would ever give money to this ‘empire’ – ‘golden years’ have gone irretrievably, while Putinism is the last ‘maniacal upsurge of raving lunatic.’ It will be followed by a long depression, which is likely to leave nothing of bygone ‘grandeur.’ It is difficult to say now what comes into being on the post-Russian geopolitical expanse. It is plain that the Russian Empire lives out its last years or even months.

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