As Putin’s Grasp on Power Weakens, His Foreign Policy Is Slackening

19 Jun 2019

(EDM) Something quite extraordinary happened in Russia last week: a loud public outcry forced the authorities to set free Ivan Golunov, an investigative journalist crudely framed by the police for drug possession. Neither the motley crowd of activists who joined ranks in protest against this selective punishment, nor the legion of propagandists, always ready to approve any repression, had expected such a swift resolution. Without a doubt, the decision was directly ordered by President Vladimir Putin. On June 11, just five days after the publicly advertised detention, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev announced that the case against Golunov had been dropped and two police generals had been fired (Carnegie.ru, June 12). Such a retreat was entirely out of character—Putin usually refuses to give in to pressure from the street as a matter of principle. Some keen observers thus sought to explain Putin’s backtracking as evidence of an irreversible crisis within his corrupt, repressive regime (Colta.ru, June 14). [...]

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