Putin let’s the mask slip

Vladimir Putin throws his toys out of the pramVladimir Putin was positively frothing at the mouth during his last press conference as official President of Russia.

Like a drunk at closing time putting the world to rights, he banged on about the problems and causes of the worlds ills, before vomiting outside and sauntering off looking for a kebab house. (OK so I made that part up).

Spouting vitriol and warnings reminiscent of a well known testicularly challenged Austrian:

he accused [the USA] of harbouring a colonial mentality towards Russia,

What? Another mention of colonialism from the 21st century’s only real colonial power. It’s ironic that he accuses a nation of a colonial mentality whilst warning a former colony (Ukraine) that they face nuclear annihilation by joining NATO. Clearly Russia has no word for irony.

While I do have some sympathy for Russia, having been marginalised over the past 17 years, and going from a superpower to being considered almost as a non entity, I think that Putin seems almost desperate to make amends by making everyone that has slighted Russia beg for mercy.

America did treat Russia quite shoddily after 1991, trying to make damn sure that they weren’t a threat again, but it isn’t the first time. After the victory handshake with Harry S Truman, Churchill found himself short an Empire but with an invoice for billions in his pocket. Billions which Britain finally managed to pay back last year. The Americans do not mess around, once you’ve been a threat they neutralise any chance of you being so again. Which is why they still have thousands of troops stationed in Japan and Germany.

Putin continued his rant warning:

… of retaliation once Kosovo broke away – a threat likely to chill Western leaders. “We have a ready-made plan and we know what we are going to do,” he said.

Serious threats from Putin, after all wars have been started in Serbia before, apparently a big one kicked off there about a hundred years ago. Although I think that he is referring more to gas and oil than military action.

Europe gets most of its gas from Russia, and a substantial amount of its oil. If Russia decided to cut that supply off, as it has done to its neighbours and former colonies in the past, there could be problems.

However Russia needs Europe and the billions that it has invested and continues to invest in Russia, so it is probably something of an empty threat.

With his maximum two terms over, many in the West were hoping for a less bellicose replacement, but Putin’s hand picked protege will almost certainly put pay to any chance of that. Furthermore Putin has made it clear just who will be in charge.

To the delight of fawning Russian journalists, he confirmed his intention to re-emerge as a powerful prime minister in a Medvedev administration – and pointedly told reporters that he had no intention of hanging his successor’s portrait on his office wall.

Why would he, Medvedev is probably going to have to have a portrait of Putin on his wall.

Still, you can say one thing for Putin, he knows how to formulate a good insult. On the British tabloids, who alleged he was a billionaire, he said:

“detritus excavated from someone’s nostril and smeared across bits of paper.”

Apparently in Russia, that is just about the most offensive remark going. He also said:

“[Western Election Observers, should] rather teach their own wives how to cook cabbage soup.”

I think that one sort of loses something in translation. Even so he has managed to allay the fears of most westerners that he is some rabid dictator hell bent of sparking another world war with this five hour diatribe.


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