Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Putin's Russia

This is today's Russia:

The most striking thing about everyday life in the Russia of Vladimir Putin (and make no mistake, it is Putin's Russia, despite the election of a new president, hand-picked by the great man) is the incredible corruption of the courts, the police, the special forces -- all the institutions that are supposed to uphold law and order in a democracy and that in Russia today have been transformed into a cancer that's devouring the state.

Russia has rejected the West but is so screwed up that they can never be a real threat to the West again. Moscow has chosen the middle ground of alienating us with no real power over us.

It should be obvious why Eastern Europeans newly freed from the Soviet Union's crushing embrace want to get into NATO. Don't bother wondering about that.

What should be a subject of inquiry is why Russians seem to be happy with their new commissars. Russians will find that their attitude is of little help when a resurgent China presses Russia in the Far East to redress 18th century grievances.

Russians may be devouring Russia from within, but the final bite will come from the outside.