Vladimir Putin’s regime is fighting for its political life, Garry Kasparov, leader of The Other Russia coalition, writes in The Wall Street Journal.
The Putin regime is teetering toward collapse. It is no longer taboo in Russia to speak openly of the post-Putin era — even among regime loyalists. We are witnessing the survival gambit of a corrupt regime.
Putin and his allies live in fear of a popular uprising because it would likely force them into bankruptcy, exile and even prison. They cannot be expected to operate Russia as a rational state actor. The question is whether the West will bail out the Russian dictatorship or let it fall.
Protests are increasing because voters did not care that their elections were rigged until inflation started squeezing them. Time has run out on the illusion of economic prosperity for the average Russian. The popular outrage that will lead to regime change will stem from the public realization that the Russian economy is in worse shape than other leading nations.
The West must not be tempted by a desire to maintain comfortable relations with the current government in charge of Russia. After years of criminal mismanagement, the Russian economy is falling apart more rapidly than those of other industrialized nations.
The foreign businessmen and politicians eager to play ball with Putin should bear in mind that in all likelihood Putin will not be around that much longer. Nor will the dubious deals that he and his friends are making in Russia’s name for their own profit go unexamined after they are gone.
Beware of Doing Deals With Putin
Garry Kasparov, 05.03.2009