Putin the Staunch Republican?

Putin.  Source: AFP/GettyRussian journalist Ilya Milshtein argues that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is a staunch supporter of the US Republican Party, as evidenced by Putin’s speeches over the past four years.

The article first ran in the Grani.ru online newspaper.

Coercion to McCain
August 29, 2008
Ilya Milshtein

Prominent Russian political figure Vladimir Putin is a staunch supporter of the US Republican Party. One can only guess at the reasons. Maybe, the word “democrat” is disagreeable to him from childhood. It’s also not impossible that our premier generally gravitates to conservatism in all its most diverse forms – from the East German to the North American. By nature and purely professionally. The KGB is a conservative organization.

One way or another, our national leader has “voted” for the republicans for at least four years already.

In the fall of 2004, the Russian president sternly spoke out against democrat John Kerry. Literally equating the liberal candidate to Al-Qaeda, Putin said that a defeat of Bush would be “a grandiose victory for international terrorism.” He repeated this thought he had grown fond of at the moment when America was counting the votes collected by the contenders. If George wins, Putin said, this would mean that “the American public did not allow itself to be frightened, and made a wise choice.”

As you know, the American public lived up to his expectation.

Incidentally, debates had already started then as to how sensible Putin’s own decision to participate in the electoral campaign of Bush junior was. For example, that same fall, he actively supported Yanukovich as a candidate in Ukraine, and twice congratulated him with victory, which didn’t end very well. Both for Yanukovich and for Putin. There were even talks that if the Russian leader had behaved more humbly, then his protege would have had more of a chance. However, it’s already impossible to believe this, as the story doesn’t know that potential inclination. Especially when is deals with the national leader.

One can still assume that Putin’s heartfelt speeches didn’t hurt Bush. After all, they hadn’t completely forgotten in America, who was the first to express solidarity on September 11th. Relations between the Kremlin and the White House were already lukewarm, but years still remained before another cold war. Overall, one can assume that Putin helped his friend little, but expressed his own candid opinion. Which was what he was aiming for.

Today, when they are starting to use [Putin’s] name to scare small children in America, and when children seriously get scared, one must exercise caution when expressing sympathies for our premier. One cannot simply call on the American electorate to vote for McCain like this, saying that otherwise, bin Laden will celebrate his latest victory over the US. One must weigh every word. Otherwise, Obama will become president.

In yesterday’s interview with CNN [(English transcript)], Vladimir Vladimirovich found these words. He told the American voter that the war in Georgia, probably, was intentionally provoked by someone, in order to “to aggravate the situation and create a competitive advantage for one of the candidates for the U.S. presidency.” True, this was just a “hypothesis” as of yet, but “if it is confirmed,” then everything will become clear to Putin. Both about the Georgian war, and about the dirty, bloody election techniques in the US.

Every word here is worth its weight in gold, and each is clear as crystal.

It is hard to accept that Putin, one of the most informed people on the planet, doesn’t know something. And who could strive for “escalation” and win percents over it? Only McCain, which some of our political figures and experts have already spoken out about –as a rule, those who welcome the coming cold war epoch with a joyous song.

Now Putin has joined with them. Taking into account past experience, Vladimir Vladimirovich today acts from the opposite side. It’s as if, in Ukraine four years ago, he had recruited the local people into the ranks of the “Orangists” and twice congratulated Yushchenko with a glorious victory. He accuses the republicans of initiating the war in the Caucasus, knowing full well, that the majority of Americans won’t believe him. Instead, they’ll clearly adopt it: this unpleasant Russian is against our John. That’s why many of those who waver between McCain and Obama, will now vote for the republican candidate. Simply because Putin alluded to him with disapproval.

The time at hand is completely different, after all. It is a very cold time, forcing Americans, with a sigh, to remember the late Ronald Reagan, with his firmness in leading the operation which today can be called “coercion into perestroika.” It is exactly McCain who is conducting his electoral campaign with Reagan’s name on his lips.

In a word, just a couple more of these interviews on American TV channels, and our cunning premier will celebrate a victory with the republicans. Why they are so dear to him is uncertain. But one wants to believe, that coming into power, John McCain won’t forget the efforts of his Russian partner in the cold war, and will reward him with some kind of secret decoration.

translation by theotherrussia.org