Putin needs to keep Russia in a ‘permanent’ state of war to stay in power, expert says

Putin needs to keep Russia in a ‘permanent’ state of war to stay in power, expert says
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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) speaks as Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) looks on while taking part in the wreath laying ceremony at the Unknown Soldier Tomb, marking the Defender of the Fatherland's Day, on February 23, 2024, in Moscow, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

  • Putin must remain in a permanent state of war to consolidate his power, political scientist Marie Mendras writes in a new book.
  • Putin maintains power through political violence, conflict, and perpetual war, says Mendras.
  • Despite economic and diplomatic isolation, Putin is expected to win a fifth presidential term.

Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to ensure his country stays in a permanent state of war to consolidate his power, according to a new book from Marie Mendras, a professor at Sciences Po University’s Paris School of International Affairs.

“He has the logic of a paranoid leader,” Mendras told France 24 on Monday.

“The man is in survival mode,” added Mendras, whose latest book on Russia titled “La Guerre permanente: Ultime stratégie du Kremlin,” or “The Permanent War: The Kremlin’s ultimate strategy” was released last week. It is available in French.

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Mendras, who has written several books on Russia, said Putin has managed to stay in power since 1999 — when he was appointed the Prime Minister of Russia by then-President Boris Yeltsin — using “more and more political violence,” as well as conflict and wars. They include five wars in Chechnya, Georgia, Donbas, Syria, and Ukraine.

After all, he was a relative unknown before his unexpected rise to the top job in Russia over two decades ago.

“He thinks in the very immediate, short-term: ‘What can I do to terrorize everybody so that they will accept my desires and my rule?'” she told France 24.

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It’s unlikely Russia will be witnessing a major revolution or rebellion because it’s a “dangerous dictatorship,” said Mendras.

Russia’s war against Ukraine triggered sweeping Western sanctions against Moscow, isolating its economy and weakening Russia diplomatically.

While Russia’s economy appears resilient, Mendras cautioned taking numbers at face value.

“The economics and social situation is not good, and we shouldn’t trust the official statistics,” she told the network.

Russia posted GDP growth of 3.6% in 2023 after contracting 1.2% in 2022. Experts say Russia’s growth is driven primarily by war spending and subsidies.

Putin is seeking a fifth presidential term in Russia’s upcoming election in March. The 71-year-old Russian leader is expected to win the race against three opponents.

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Putin’s longtime political foe, Alexey Navalny, died suddenly in prison on February 16. For years, Navalny had been a vocal critic of Putin and his inner circle. The EU has said it holds Russia responsible for Navalny’s death.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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