Spectacular Failure for Vladimir Putin

The tsunami of bad news for Vladimir Putin on the foreign policy front this week was so overwhelming as to make it seem like a nightmare. But it was oh, so very real.

For the first time since Putin came to power, a majority of Americans told Gallup that they see Russia as an enemy.  Putin’s effort at propaganda in the New York Times was such a spectacular failure that the paper itself, in a virtually unheard of move, attacked him for it.

Ukraine thumbed its nose at Putin and declared its intention to join the European Union, a hop, skip and jump from NATO membership.

Belarus and Russia entered a state of open economic war.

And Putin’s policy towards Syria was openly mocked around the world. Everywhere, people were asking:  If, as Russia claims, Syria’s government did not use chemical weapons against its people, then why is Russia forcing Syria to disarm?

If you thought Putin could look to the domestic front for solace, you thought wrong.  2013 will be the sixth straight year in which Russian GDP growth has fallen from the year before, and 2014 will open in all likelihood with Russia entering a double-dip recession as a debtor nation barely able to make ends meet.

Putin’s foreign policy has left Russia isolated all around the world, a pariah state with only the likes of Iran, Syria and Venezuela for allies.  His domestic policy has left Russia impoverished and collapsing.  He is a disaster everywhere, all the time.

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What Real Opposition Looks Like

This is an activist from the FEMEN organization, protesting recently in Kiev, Ukraine. She was demanding the resignation of the country’s prime minister, a sexist pig who is routinely denying basic civil rights to women.  The protesters put the photograph onto the Prime Minister’s Facebook page, and they were manhandled and arrested by his goons.  In a similar protest in Belarus, the activists were brutally tortured by the autocratic regime.

The contrast between this activism and the sorry excuse for it taking place in Moscow could not be more extreme. As we previously reported, the Moscow opposition rally has been described like this: “It all felt much more like a national holiday, a festivity. What’s more, not even a ‘festivity of disobedience’, but simply a festivity.” There were no arrests.

Russians, it seems, do not yet even know the real meaning of the word opposition.  Their efforts to challenge the neo-Soviet regime of Vladimir Putin are ineffectual, senseless, indeed pathetic.  Their actions do not in any way indicate that Russians are willing to take real risks or that they feel any true sense of outrage or urgency. On behalf of the Russian people, we are ashamed.