So what should Vladimir Putin's New Year's Resolutions be?

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So what should Vladimir Putin's New Year's Resolutions be?

The Big Question: In the wake of President Putin's New Year message to world leaders, we suggest what he could have been thinking





For most people a New Year’s Resolution will be something simple, like ‘do more exercise’ or ‘go for a promotion’; for leaders of countries these resolutions are often bigger. President Obama, for example, might well have resolved to spend the remainder of his final term going out with a bang rather than a whimper, and making the best he can of Republican dominated Congress. David Cameron could decide that he is going to redouble efforts on English Votes for English Laws, and seek a final settlement for the West Lothian Question. However, the arguably most important resolutions, will be those of Vladimir Putin – and their content will likely depend upon whether he settles for survival, or once again gamble everything for glory.



Putin’s Russia is at the moment facing mounting external pressures; the falling price of petroleum products that was initiated by Saudi Arabia/OPEC’s decision not to lower output in an attempt to retain market share is hitting Russia’s export based economy hard. This coupled with the ongoing Western sanctions being implemented in response to his actions in Ukraine, is causing rampant inflation. Internally his opponents are growing bolder, but thankfully (from Putin’s perspective), not really more effective.



Whichever course his resolutions take him, Putin will need to retain old friends and acquire some more. China has proved a good friend when its interests align with his, and this has continued with the signing of thirty year gas deal earlier this year. This economic boost has been combined with a developing ‘Asia Focus’ of Russia, including increased activity within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. While to an extent this has been forced on Russia by the need to secure new markets, as it seeks to survive current sanctions, it is also a continuation of Putin’s desire to grow Russian influence and reach in ways that will strengthen its national security.

This policy has been successful though, because whilst European Union and the Anglosphere have imposed sanctions because of Russian actions in Ukraine; Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Central/South America haven’t. Furthermore, as long as Putin retains the loyalty, or at least acquiescence of the majority of Russia’s people, as well as perhaps more importantly the security services and defence forces, he should secure.

Survival

Going for survival would be the easier option, to resolve to cease support, or at least reduce it to ‘plausibly deniable’ levels, for the Eastern Ukrainian Separatists. Theoretically if done quickly enough this would lead to the Western money markets reopening in time to stave off, or reduce, inflation enough buy the Russian economy time till the petroleum prices stabilise. Such a resolution though would be personally damaging for Putin, it would involve a loss of face for a man who likes to portray himself as ‘SuperPutin’. Although, there would be a bonus for Putin to draw solace from.

One of the things that have been held up by the sanctions are Russia’s French built amphibious ships, the Mistral class vessels Vladivostok & Sevastopol. With the sanctions ended delivery would presumably be reinstated. These are potentially big additions to Russia’s status, they are not only very capable warships, but as evident symbols of national reach and potency, they rank second only to aircraft carriers.

The Russian navy at the moment is weak, despite the increase of funding paid for by past years surging oil prices, it is a hollow force with many of its major units being Cold War Vintage. Therefore the acquisition of these vessels, as well as their sisters which are to be built in Russia, represent for Putin, and Russia, a highly visible (and very useful) demonstrations of the resurgent modern Russia as a world power.

Glory

World Power status has in many ways been Putin’s guiding light, to reclaim for Russia its position of pre-eminence and influence that it enjoyed when Putin served in the KGB. To achieve this he has become almost a modern equivalent to Bismarck, relentlessly working to strength Russia’s position, to secure its sphere of influence and shore up its protection.

Putin’s successes have gained him popularity at home, and have restored confidence to Russia when acting abroad. Resolving therefore to weather the current storms, to carry on making bartering deals such as the recent deal with Argentina of fighter aircraft for food, might well provide Putin with his finest hour. After all, if managed correctly, he could turn the current situation into an ‘us against the world moment’, and with luck on his side use it to silence domestic opposition while establishing trade relationships that will allow Russia to continue to grow independent of the influence of the USA.

In the End…

Putin is a realist. He gambles but he has always pursued whatever he believes to be in the best interests for Russia (and therefore the best for Putin). The logical choice for an outsider would most likely be to make resolutions for survival, while perhaps still trying to build those trade links of the glory resolution for a longer term gain. This position though would possibly also be the most risky for him, because by retreating from Ukraine he would be opening a chink in the armour of ‘SuperPutin’. Such a chink, once seen might be the incentive that his foreign enemies, the opposition, and even less reliable domestic allies seize upon to try to secure power for themselves. This though is all summation, and if there is one thing Putin has proved during his 16 years in power, if there is a way for him to come out on top, he finds it.
 
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He should try anything to get economic growth. If I were him, I would offer no taxes to companies wanting to invest in Russia.
 
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Maybe he could resolve to be a bit more tolerant towards gays? He could even combine this new attitude with some kind of "gay tourism" initiative and help the economy at the same time!
 

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He should start by: "Try not to annex any of the old URSS's countries."
I think that should be a really great start.
 
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It should be to get a new PR consultant because 2014 was not a great one for him! On top of that, I think he would like a fairy godmother to sort out the oil price and stabilize the Ruble. And of course get some stability among the old Soviet countries that border him.
 
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Maybe he could resolve to be a bit more tolerant towards gays? He could even combine this new attitude with some kind of "gay tourism" initiative and help the economy at the same time!
Well, he already failed. Did you hear that they just outlawed transgendered bus drivers? I'm not sure why this particular profession needed to have this stipulation, but in Russia, you cannot be a bus driver if you are transgendered. I think Putin needs to work on his "poker face" in 2015. This "oh we have no soldiers there" routine is old. Oh, we aren't staging elections even though there are soldiers at the polling places. So, yes, a new PR consultant might be a good idea.
 
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He is going to need to start some kinda conflict that causes uncertainty in the oil markets. The problem now is that the USA and OPEC are working together to drive down the price of oil. This is going to bankrupt Russia very quickly. The only thing Putin can do to get oil prices to raise is to totally submit to the USA and beg for forgiveness, or start some conflict in an area with high oil output. It the production of oil somewhere else is threatened, or even perceived to be threatened, the markets will react and prices will rise. I expect to see something with Israel or Iran started by Russia behind the scenes. Nothing raises oil prices like a good mid-east flare up.

On the home-front, expect to see some dissention from his billionare friends. Many of them have had huge burdens and financial losses because of Crimea.. espect to see some of them start to get frustrated. My prediction is that by the end of 2015, at least one of them will turn on Putin and end up in jail with his company seized ´by the government´.

Finally, expect the courts in Russia to become even more politicized and crazy. Putin has to know his days are numbered in power, and he needs to make sure there aer no indictments when he does leave.
 
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Well, he already failed. Did you hear that they just outlawed transgendered bus drivers? I'm not sure why this particular profession needed to have this stipulation, but in Russia, you cannot be a bus driver if you are transgendered.
Oh my word, that is terrible! There is no sensible basis for this decision at all is there, it should be made solely on your ability to drive a bus! What a horrible, bigoted man!
 
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Oh my word, that is terrible! There is no sensible basis for this decision at all is there, it should be made solely on your ability to drive a bus! What a horrible, bigoted man!
I fully agree with you on this. I just saw the headline and closed my browser. I have a particular soft spot for the transgendered community since I had an old client at my past job come tell me her story. She was actually born intergendered (having parts of both sexes at birth) back in the 1950s. Well, back then, you didn't talk about it, you just chose a gender and raised the child. Well, she was raised as a boy, but always felt she was a girl. We had her diagnosed with gender identity disorder (medical refused to pay for her hormones). Her life was very difficult with her father leaving because they birthed a freak etc. So, in sum, this headline pissed me off.
 

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There's nothing really new. What he wants now are the things he used to want. No change. It's all about power and the people of his country and nothing else for everyone else. He wants to be revered as well his country. In lieu of this, he want domination and superiority. Is this good at all?
 
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It's been a month since the new year celebrations. Putin's long-term goals must have something to do with world domination. Otherwise, he won't suggest that the United States should focus on this goal. If he wants the Russian race to reign supreme over the others, then he's going about it the wrong way. After world domination, what then? I bet he won't be able to answer that.
 
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Every time Putin tries to be serious it reminds me of how fake or forced it feels reminded me. Pictures here:





Or kind of like the "I know everything, you know nothing" glare feeling I get from him too:



whenever he speaks at a concert or assembly hall. I know a Leader must be tough, but they must also be shown to be caring. Sometimes his facial expression doesn't shift the entire time. There are evil intentions there!

(This is a joke, of course, I don't know him personally.)
 
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