Sasha Sotnik posted a note on his Facebook page today arguing that person who benefits the most from Nemtsov’s murder was Putin.
First, Sotnik says, Putin has eliminated a strong competitor in the 2016 and 2018 “elections”.
Second, Sotnik argues that the opposition has been demoralized by Nemtsov’s murder. “It has lost not only a vibrant personality, but also a financial support.” Now chaos will reign in the liberal opposition for some period of time, and this is definitely to the Kremlin and Putin’s advantage.
Third, he says, the fear has become so palpable that those who before wondered whether to leave or to wait have chosen to leave immediately.
This means that those remaining in Russia will be “the pathetic bunch of those who did not (could not or would not) leave (they can expect a harsh share of eternal internal exile or a prison term)…. And it is difficult to predict how this will end for civilization. Most likely, a major war between the West and the empire of wild barbarians. But Putin’s power will be absolute.”
One reader thought that Sotnik was exaggerating, and that Russia couldn’t defeat the West in a war.
“…now he [Putin] is just going to blackmail the West with nuclear weapons. It is possible to do this indefinitely, tightening the regime internally (for example — DPRK [North Korea]) and staying in power indefinitely.”
Or Putin could just go to war regardless of the consequences, Sotnik concludes.
A depressing thought to end a depressing week.