Will Putin Wake Up in Time to Save Russia?
If not it means a devastating war
Paul Craig Roberts
Readers regard the West’s seizing of Russian assets and foreign exchange as acts of war and wonder why Putin does not declare them as such. The sanctions are weapons being used in an effort to destroy Russia just as if they were military weapons. The countries imposing sanctions on Russia are just as involved in the conflict as if they had troops fighting in Ukraine.
Putin recognizes the sanctions as such. He declared the sanctions to be “a total undisguised aggression” and “a war waged by economic, political, and informational means.” But Russia has not responded as she would if Western troops were involved. The reason is that Putin regards war, especially nuclear war, as more damaging than sanctions. Instead of unleashing his forces, he is preparing Russia to survive the sanctions while he puts in place systems that make Russia immune to sanctions, something that should have been done long ago.
It wasn’t done, because of the extraordinary influence on Putin of three Russian traitors–Anatoly Chubais, Alexei Kudrin, and central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina. These are people who represent the West, but have Putin’s ear. Bloomberg, an unreliable news source, reported that “Russia’s highly regarded central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina sought to resign after Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine,” but was not permitted to leave her post. Instead Putin nominated her for another term. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-23/russia-central-banker-wanted-out-over-ukraine-but-putin-said-no
Whether or not Bloomberg’s reporting is fake news, notice that the anti-Putin Bloomberg News describes Nabiullina as “highly regarded” (Bloomberg means in the West) and goes on to report that “Nabiullina, is favored by investors and hailed by publications including Euromoney and The Banker as one of the world’s best monetary policymakers.” The reason she is favored by Western investors and financial publications is that she runs the Russian central bank in ways that enrich the West and impoverish Russia. You can bet your life that if she were helping Russia, she would not be “highly regarded as one of the world’s best monetary policymakers.” Clearly Bloomberg is doing all it can to keep her on the job serving Western financial interests.
The Russian economist, almost Russia’s only economist, Sergei Glazyev has been warning Putin about Nabiullina for years, to no effect until recently when Putin ordered that Russian energy be billed to “unfriendly countries” in rubles. Glazyev finally got through to Putin that Nabiullina’s policy of exporting (and privatizing Russia’s assets) for foreign exchange was a policy for weakening the ruble and making it vulnerable while supporting the strength of the currencies of Russia’s enemies. https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2022/03/24/will-putin-wake-up-to-the-threat-of-russias-atlanticist-integrationists/
Except for the deadly influence of Chubais, Kudrin, and Nabiullina, who together succeeded in programming Putin with economic disinformation, Putin would realize that he had more powerful weapons against the sanctions than war. All Russia needs to do to end the crisis on Russia’s terms is to turn off the energy to Europe, especially Germany, and to nationalize without payment foreign ownership of Russian assets. Russia is unable to use her power, because the Gang of Three convinced Putin that Russia, alone in the world, needs to fulfill its contractual obligations in order to keep totally unneeded (and unusable) credit lines open with the West and be able to borrow foreign currencies, a totally harmful self-infliction for Russia.
If Russia is suffering, and if this suffering results in a wider war, the reason will be that Putin cannot break free of the influence of Chubais, Kudrin, and Nabiullina. The Gang of Three have Putin firmly in the West’s clutches.
Chubais has resigned from Putin’s government and fled to the West, and you can bet that his stolen billions stashed away in Western banks are not frozen. Nabiullina wanted to follow, but failing to see his good fortune in her departure, Putin kept her on the job where she will continue to damage Russia. If the sanctions succeed, they will owe their effectiveness to Nabiullina, who made certain that the West would be able to seize the bulk of Russia’s foreign reserves, to make Russia vulnerable by kicking her out of the SWIFT clearing system, and to threaten Russia with a possible economic upheaval that could result in Putin’s removal from office.
If Putin is keeping his dangerous enemy close at hand where his eye is on her, he should at least strip her of decision-making power.