Just a quick note here (since I am inundated by emails about this): there is no way I can put a positive spin on the fact that Putin has re-nominated Medvedev as Prime Minister.  I am personally bitterly disappointed and so are many others.  A comment I just saw on the YouTube chat of the inauguration was succinct and to the point: “Путин кинул народ – мы не за Медведева голосовали” or “Putin betrayed the people – we did not vote for Medvedev”.  This is going to be a very widely shared feeling, I am afraid.

Now, there are a number of explanations for this development including that Medvedev is an effective manager, that he has been weakened by the corruption scandals in Dagestan, that the new task-centered management doctrine of the Russian government makes personalities less important, etc.

Frankly, I don’t buy any of them.  First and foremost, the re-nomination of Medvedev is a hugely important symbolic act which says the following: there will NOT be a purge of the Atlantic-Integrationist IMF/WTO/WB type, of the 5th columnist inside the Kremlin and that the (very unpopular) “economic block” of the Russian government will stay in power.  In fact, this re-nomination will only pour more fuel on the fire of rumors saying that Putin/Russia will “cave in” in Syria or the Donbass or that the internal economic course will continue to remain what is politely known as “liberalism”.   The devil is always in the details, but I have to say that seeing Medvedev re-nominated is, at the very least, a PR-disaster.  If that is how Putin begins his term, it scares me to think of what might come next (Kudrin? Chubais?)…

At this point in time, I am NOT saying that this will happen.  But we are all aware of the alarmist rumors circulating all over the Internet about this for many days now and what I am saying is that this re-nomination will only strengthen these rumors.  Such rumors are, I believe, very dangerous because I think that one of the techniques most effectively used by Putin’s enemies it not to criticize him directly but, instead, of accusing him of showing weakness and lack of resolve. Do you remember how some pseudo-patriots accused Russia of “disarming Syria” when the Russians stopped the planned US attack and removed the (totally useless) chemical weapons the Syrians had? Or how many times we have been told that Russia will “sell out” the Donbass? Or how Russia “was allowing” Israel bomb Syria (here is my reply to this thesis: https://www.unz.com/tsaker/why-is-putin-allowing-israel-to-bomb-syria/)?  The tactic used against Putin is simple: do not attack him for being patriotic, but attack him for being NOT PATRIOTIC ENOUGH. These rumors are particularly effective a demoralizing those who support Putin and his efforts against the Atlantic-Integrationists. Finally, these rumors weaken Putin’s support amongst those who support him.

But with this re-nomination of Medvedev Putin himself has given a lot of credence to these rumors!  Why would he do that?  Could it be that he had no other choice?  One thing is sure: he cannot be unaware of the fact that Medvedev is unpopular and that most Russians hoped to see a new face.  Yet Putin ignored this public sentiment.  That is a very worrying sign, in my opinion.

Nonethless, I suggest that we wait for a few days to see who the new (old?) ministers will be.  If, as some rumors are suggesting it, Shoigu and Rogozin are out – then this will only further fuel the current panic.  As for the appointment of Mutko to deputy prime minister overseeing construction, it sounds like a bad joke.

I personally don’t want to make any forecasts (I am not a prophet), but I do have to admit that things look pretty bleak right now.

The next 24 hours should bring some clarity to what is really talking place.

But yeah, things look pretty bleak to me.

The Saker

The Essential Saker IV: Messianic Narcissism's Agony by a Thousand Cuts
The Essential Saker III: Chronicling The Tragedy, Farce And Collapse of the Empire in the Era of Mr MAGA