What Does Putin’s Reelection Mean for the West?

Ivan Ivanovych, American Renaissance, March 19, 2018

Can Russia lead a return to nation and tradition?

The globalist establishment is deeply annoyed by the re-election of Russian President Putin to his fourth presidential term yesterday, with hardly any opposition to speak of. His success in ruling Russia challenges key tenets of Western globalists: Liberal democratic institutions are the best remedy to political problems, free markets and open borders are the best remedy to economic problems, and traditional values are reactionary. Six more years of Vladimir Putin will be a formidable counterbalance to the creation of a Europe without borders. Russia’s support for Europe’s identitarians and nationalists—which has taken the form of statements, media coverage, and offers of public venues or even bank lending in the case of Marine Le Pen—means that our cause will have an ally.

In explaining how Putin is able to succeed despite his contempt for the Western agenda, the establishment media tell a story of poor, enslaved Russians, who are secretly yearning to be released from provincial ignorance in order to reap the benefits Western-style “social justice.” In fact, Mr. Putin’s approval ratings could only be dreamed of by most Western politicians. No fewer than 81 percent of Russian adults approve of Putin as president, according to a survey conducted in November by the Levada Center polling firm, which Russia considers to be a foreign agent. Incredibly, the draconian and backwards Putin (as the Western media describe him) is even more popular among 18 to 24 year olds, enjoying an 86 percent approval rating. Sixty-seven percent of this age group believe the country is going in the right direction, compared to 56 percent of the general public.

This is not to say that Mr. Putin doesn’t manipulate public opinion. Presidential debates televised in recent weeks between his challengers resembled a political Jerry Springer show, with candidate Ksenia Sobchak on one occasion flinging water at her opponents—who referred to her as a “fool,” “whore” and “black witch”—and storming off in tears during another debate. The goal of Mr. Putin’s image-makers is to cast his opponents as bungling fools who would undermine the stability he established domestically and the strength he projects overseas. However, the Western view that he is popular largely because he has used a state media monopoly to manipulate tens of millions of ignorant people doesn’t hold water.

Vladimir Putin meets with his campaign representatives at his election campaign headquarters on the day of the presidential election. (Credit Image: © Druzhinin Alexei/TASS via ZUMA Press)

Russians are more-or-less satisfied with their living standard, despite the sanctions imposed by the US and the EU because of the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the ongoing military aggression in eastern Ukraine. These sanctions consisted of asset freezes and travel bans on the most influential Russians, and a freeze on Western lending to Russian banks and enterprises.

Estimates of the costs of these sanctions vary widely. Mr. Putin pegged them at about $160 billion a year, but a 2017 UN estimate put the total damages for three-years (2014 to 2017) at $55 billion, and damage to the EU at $38 billion a year for lost trade. When the sanctions were imposed, many Western figures were certain they would make Mr. Putin reconsider his aggressive moves in Ukraine. George Soros and American investment banker Bill Browder predicted that sanctions would lead to economic collapse as early as 2017. So did some Russian economists.

Instead, the Russian economy grew 1.5 percent in 2017, according to preliminary state estimates, and there are no signs of collapse. Inflation has dropped to 2 percent, a rate once unheard of in the post-Soviet sphere. GDP growth is projected at 1.7 percent to 3.3 percent this year. Mr. Putin recently unveiled sophisticated hypersonic cruise missiles, and he’s building a nearly 12-mile bridge to link Crimea with the Russian mainland.

The key factor to Russia’s economic resilience has been global oil prices, which recently reached a three-year high. Even the New York Times had to concede that high oil prices could “outweigh the ill effects of sanctions.”

But if oil doesn’t save Putin’s Russia from the globalist sanctions, Europe’s working-class white voters just might. The populist-nationalist wave in Europe gained momentum on March 4 when three such parties dominated the Italian parliamentary elections, in what’s likely to give Russia its most receptive legislature in the West. As it already has in Italy and Germany, the steady influx of Third World migrants promises to produce more Russia-friendly legislatures in the West, which means we could see some sanctions relaxed in the coming years.

An important sign is the recent announcement by Thorbjorn Jagland of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that he wants sanctions dropped by the time of the organization’s 2019 summit—and for reasons not even related to the populist tide. PACE is having trouble maintaining its operations without dues from Russia, which stopped paying in 2017 in retaliation for being denied voting rights and participation in 2014. Mr. Jagland’s view is that PACE should be concerned mainly with human rights in Russia, not with punishing its geopolitical sins.

If sanctions gradually are removed, we can expect the risk of a Russia-NATO war to subside. At the same time, Russia would be further emboldened in its campaign to bring the Ukrainian territory back under Russian control, and its influence in Europe would increase. This influence is based not only on natural gas and oil supplies, on which Europe remains dependent. Russia has a cultural impact as well, by promoting a guiltless view of whiteness and masculinity that Russians have been able to preserve and even take for granted.

The recent scandal over the apparent nerve-agent attack on Russian former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, on the other hand, could lead to broader Western resolve to maintain or even strengthen sanctions.

If sanctions intensify—and the US under President Trump has already taken the lead for other reasons—Mr. Putin and his military leadership could decide they have no option but to think in increasingly forceful terms. It has already been widely reported that Russia has built up its military forces along not only the Ukrainian border, but along the borders of the Baltic States, which were once part of the Soviet Union but are now NATO members. Retired US Army Gen. Jack Keane says Russia has been rehearsing for a war with NATO over the Baltics. In November, Mr. Putin called upon Russia’s private defense contractors to be prepared to “quickly increase the volumes of defense products and services in time of need.”

In arguing against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the West stresses the need to protect the post-WWII global system of rule of law based on the inviolability of state borders—even while it makes a mockery of those borders by permitting mass illegal immigration. In reply, Mr. Putin has pointed to Russia’s centuries-old presence on the peninsula, during which much Russian blood was split to defend it, and to Crimea’s ethnic Russian majority, which is happy with its new government, regardless of whether the annexation violated international law.

But what good is international law if it would return Crimeans to a Ukrainian state? Living standards of Crimeans have risen under Russian “occupation,” and Ukrainians would be hostile to Crimean enthusiasm for Russian identity and language. As for Ukrainians themselves, Russia questions whether a majority really wants to join the EU and NATO. Indeed, strong results are now being predicted for pro-Russian parties in the parliamentary elections scheduled for October 2019.

This conflict between the Western establishment and Mr. Putin can be seen as a battle for the collective soul of the white man as he enters a perilous 21st century. Will whites continue to be displaced by immigrants and become atomized cogs in the global economy, or will they maintain control of their lands and rekindle an appreciation for their cultures and traditions?

We can only hope that Putin’s Russia—flawed and harsh as it may be—will endure to remind Western man that he is far more than an individual, that he has duties beyond his own base needs, desires, and increasingly bizarre caprices. And we must hope that the leaders of the white world will find a political compromise over Ukraine and end a war in which people of our race continue to kill each other. We have enough challenges as it is without fratricide.

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Ivan Ivanovych
Ivan Ivanovych writes from the East.
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