TR1 wrote:Uniting while making domestic portion of populace (Kavkaz) an enemy. You can probably guess why I am not a Putin supporter.
You should read Putin's pre-election articles on Russia's ethnic relations. I hear this 'churki' bullshit everywhere I go here; I don't know where all this hate and bile is coming from but its not Putin; he and his team have been very much outspoken against such attitudes and I kinda doubt that he would be willing to risk social instability and seperatism in his own country by playing around with it. Migrants from Tajikistan might be fair game though; as when Medvedev ordered the police to give them huge problems over a political spat between the Russian and Tajik ruling elites.
What threat is there to Russia right now? Sounds exactly like that which Putin stuffed peoples ears with when he was first elected...
The threat to Russia is nationalistic, corrupt, thieves like Putin and his entourage.
They don't give a shit about Russia, their concern is themselves, money, and illusions of power.
And you should care about them pocketing Russia's money, because the estimates on corrupt elements whittling away resource from say military complex are shocking. Even in civilian life, the structure we have in Russia right now is horrible for fostering say small business creation and competitiveness. Why? Corrupt bastards who are already established are happy with their cash cows as they are, and resist any competitors that might force them to invest money out of their pocket into their businesses. And I am not talking in vague terms, this is directly from first and second hand experience of myself, family, and friends in trying to do business in Russia, be it something like restaurant operation, to small industrial projects.
To me it's irrelevant what a politician believes privately; as long as Putin is not a secret pedophile, rapist or murderer it's quite frankly not my concern. What I look at instead is their competence and results; not what they may or not 'be about', but what the practical results of their rule mean for the well-being and living standards of Russia's 140 mil population, the strength and diversity of our economy as well as our political strength and influence in the world. Being someone with very internationalist views, it is also important to me to see that Russia is not turning its back on our old friendships from the Soviet days with the Arab world, Vietnam, etc... as well as keeping good ties with our ex-Soviet neighbours and not trying to dominate or screw anyone over in any faux imperialistic policies (unfortunately Central Asia is not powerful enough to gain the respect that it deserves from the Russian political establishment).
On all of this Putin has mostly delivered; some of it less/more than others, and you could certainly level some accusations at him but nontheless the results are very substantial. If a candidate were to come along that could deliver on all of these measures more than Putin could; I would support them instead. I have no particular bias to Putin or against him; I am a patriot first and foremost and simply want to get the best deal for my country.
Now, why did I go on this rant about corruption in Russia, in a Putin thread? It all comes down from the top, and will endure if those thieves stay there.
Corruption in a society, at least visible, measurable corruption, by all appearances is correlated to its GDP PPP per capita more than anything else. I see no reason to believe that the Russian economy and society is more corrupt than its counterparts in Mexico, India, China, Lebanon, Ukraine, etc... if by absolute measures the amount of corrupted and laundered money in our country is greater than its only because we have far more money in circulation together with the oil profits and everything. Bottom line is - if these problems exist in all of these countries than I guess it's sort of naive to believe that we could get rid of them by simply electing an 'uncorrupt' leader (how would you be able to measure something like that anyway?).
More than anything, the source of Russia's corruption is its oligarchial over-class and the consenquent social-economic difference between the top 1% and other 99% (not that the other 99% is so poor nowadays or anything, but its just dwarfed by the oligarchs). Fight against the oligarchs as an all-powerful, very connected, immensely wealthy small group of people who hold huge sections of the economy in their hands; and we will deal with half the problem. There is some speculation that Putin may be up to this task (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/NC02Ag03.html) but as he is basically an oligarch himself and has no pressing need to risk internal divisions; I am quite skeptical.