(CSM) Moscow — Admitting that Russia has suffered a "difficult" year and faces what now looks to be permanent ostracism from the West, Vladimir Putin on Thursday argued that the current economic malaise is a matter of national security that will determine the country's ability to survive.
That appears to make it official: the Kremlin now believes that it's locked into a replay of the cold war, which it does not intend to lose this time. "We are ready to meet any challenge of the times and win," Putin said. […]
"There were no breakthrough ideas in Putin's speech, not in economics nor in foreign policy," says Nikolai Petrov, a political science professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. He says the basic message to Russians is to dig in, emphasize their patriotic thoughts, and muddle through.
"Maybe some of those ideas he presented would have worked if they'd been introduced in a timely fashion a few years ago. But now it's mainly slogans, and too little, too late," he says.
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