Missing Putin

In a recent blog post, Irina Zarifian asks “who is giving orders [in Russia today]?” [The graph comes from a recent article in Vedomosti]

The graph shows the frequency of participation of the Russian president in collective meetings, according to official data.

The graph clearly shows that the frequency of the public appearances of Putin in his 3rd term is actually decreasing.  Putin hardly ever appears at collective meetings, except for a spike in March 2014 ([at the time of the] Crimean referendum).

It is amazing that this is happening against the backdrop of the large-scale turn of state policy toward aggression, a sharp assault on the opposition, aggression against Ukraine and an unprecedented propaganda campaign.  In order to expand such activities, you need a lot of words and documents.  Coordination and orders are needed.  Supporters and performers are needed.  In short, there is a lot to say, and Putin says nothing.  He appears only for [the sake of] protocol.

This means that the deliberative and regulatory rhetoric that guides large-scale political action for a fourth term regime does not come from Putin, at least not from the public Putin.

Since Putin is not only the president [of Russia], but also the Supreme Commander, who in theory holds the “nuclear button” in his hands, this situation raises even more questions.

Who ordered the unfolding military exercises around the perimeter of the Russian Federation?  Who leads the troops in combat readiness?  Previously, you could assume that the excess show of force is just a bluff to intimidate the West and to move freely in Ukraine.  Today’s events, even if it is partly a bluff, are an all-in bluff.

The local conflict has entered a new phase of international confrontation.  Who is managing it?

It is also interesting see that [Putin’s] peak activity is at the beginning of Medvedev’s first term.


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