Russia expert: Putin growing paranoid, can only keep peace by increasing repression, and primarily driven by physical survival

By: Benjamin Weingarten
The Blaze

In a recent interview with Prof. Karen Dawisha, Director of Miami University of Ohio’s Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies and author of the new book “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?,” Dawisha shared a message sure to chill Russians and freedom-lovers worldwide: Vladimir Putin is becoming more paranoid, “can only really keep peace by increasing the repression,” and perhaps most telling and potentially dangerous of all at his core is driven by one thing: physical survival.

The professor’s revelations follow recent stories regarding Putin cracking down on his chief political opponents and even supposed business allies of his regime, while oil prices and the value of the ruble have declined precipitously, and Putin’s inner circle has been squeezed by U.S. sanctions.

Dawisha, who in her book documents in exacting detail how Putin rose to power, and has allegedly developed a Mafia-like criminal autocracy “based on loyalty to Putin, silence about how the system works, and massive predation and corruption,” told us in a portion of our interview beginning around 36:47:

Putin is behaving in a very paranoid way. He’s putting a lot of emphasis on increased repression. He’s taking a lot of money out of domestic coffers: health, education, pensions, to support his own inner circle – to keep peace among competing groups. To bail these people out when the social situation in the country is so dire is an act of….it reveals the regime for what it is, and he can only really keep peace by increasing the repression.

“[H]e can only really keep peace by increasing the repression”

…One of the things that is really shocking [with respect to the Navalny case] was…there were five different security fences manned by five concentric circles of police that people had to go through…it’s just unbelievable the level of police mobilization…this is the path that he’s chosen, and it’s going to be quite difficult for him to deal with that if crises start building up. You can always put five circles around one building, but what if there are running pickets?…What if people stop getting paid in the Urals…? He’s bitten off more than he can chew.

In a telling statement implying the extreme measures that Putin might take if his power is at all challenged, when asked what Putin’s ultimate goal was for Russia, Dawisha told us during a portion of our interview beginning at 46:16:

Putin’s number one objective is to survive physically.

He [Putin] told the [former] head of his PR Gleb Pavlovsky…”Look, we know how it always ends in Russia. If we lose power, they’ll put us against the wall.”

That’s his number one objective.

How he does that increasingly is through expansionist moves, neo-imperial moves, that force ordinary Russians to not demand what is their right, which is to live in a free country.

So he creates this artificial enemy of the West, and he’s using it very effectively.

And I suspect that sadly in the New Year, we will probably continue to be wrong-footed by this rather adept regime.

“[I]n the New Year, we will probably continue to be wrong-footed by this rather adept regime”

During the interview with Dawisha, we also discussed several other vital topics including:

Putin's Kleptocracy

Featured Book
Title: Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?
Author: Karen Dawisha

Purchase this book

  • The recent suppression of Putin’s political opposition, embodied by the Navalny brothers
  • How America’s inability under president Bush and Obama to see the Putin regime as a corrupt criminal one seeking to re-establish an authoritarian Soviet style state has endangered the West
  • The story of Russia’s cyberattack on Estonia in retaliation for Estonia re-locating a statue that commemorated and valorized the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany
  • How Putin laid the groundwork for his power as a KGB agent in Dresden and St. Petersburg deputy mayor
  • Putin’s gatekeeper activities in St. Petersburg with major global corporations, and its ramifications
  • How Putin rose in three-and-a-half years from being out of a job to Russian prime minister and then president
  • Dawisha’s allegation that the FSB planned to blow up a Russian apartment building as a pretext for war with the Chechens
  • How Russia has “helped” America in military operations, whose benefits accrue directly to Russia
  • Why it is vital for the US government to understand the types of crises Russia wants, and how she benefits from them
  • How Putin made the illegal, legal, and used this power to become a billionaire and enrich his KGB comrades in the process
  • And much more

Note: The links to the book in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.


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