By Eddy Montilla.
Since 1999, President Vladimir Putin has had Russia in two places: In his fist or at his side. That includes the moment when he had to surrender a significant part of his power to Dmitry Medvedev (2008-2012) for political reasons: To keep up appearances.
Last year, we saw how Putin acted firmly trying to be the most important piece in international issues, like Syrian conflict, for example. Now, he annexed Crimea and is moving forward Ukraine while President Obama and European political leaders are scratching their heads, trying to figure out what the enigmatic Russian leader will do next. Even specialists on these matters study Putin’s movements and his face, looking for a clue. What does he want? Ukraine? Other territories perhaps?
Vladimir Putin only wants Russia and nothing else.
In Russia, people adore strong leaders. Putin’s popularity soared whenever he appeared on TV in one of his heroic deeds, typical of an actor rather than a president. But now, at his age (almost 62), Putin can no longer save lives in danger, show his torso off to others or deal with tigers and martial arts demonstration. Then, his popularity decreases and those that in the past did not dare raise their voice to protest, today take to the streets despite knowing full well that they can be repressed.
By mediating during Syria’s conflict, annexing Crimea and heading toward Ukraine, Putin is looking for more prestige in the only country that he is really interested in: Russia. Russian people, the elderly in particular, can daydream about the glory years of Russian political and economic dominance on international matters, thanks to Putin. This situation soothes the growing popular discontent and might set the stage for another presidential term in the future. Forget about Crimea, forget about Ukraine: Putin only wants Russia.
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.
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