A Preview of Putin’s Election Rhetoric

Vladimir Putin made a televised visit to the annual Nashi summer camp at Seliger yesterday, and, as might be expected, he tailored his messages for the domestic audience.  Forget economic modernization, forget global leadership in helping solve Libya and Syria, forget liberalization and changes to the criminal code – just go straight to the nationalist wheelhouse:  just bash the United States as the imperial, overbearing tyrant that is responsible for all Russia’s, and the world’s problems.  Reuters:

“They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy,” Putin told the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi while touring its lakeside summer camp some five hours drive north of Moscow.

“They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar,” Putin said at the open-air meeting with admiring young Russians in what looked like early campaigning before parliamentary and presidential polls. (…)

“Thank god,” Putin said, “that they had enough common sense and responsibility to make a balanced decision. (…) If over there (in America) there is a systemic malfunction, this will affect everyone,” Putin told the young Russians.

Excellent timing, Prime Minister, well played.  After the debt ceiling debacle, I think even a good amount of Americans might be inclined to agree with his assessment.  I hate it when he makes sense.

Oh, and by the way, he’s going to be president.  Today, at least.  There’s still ambiguity.  After all, during his visit to the camp, one report noted that Putin was seen “arm-wrestling a camper and examining a two-seater bike, which he promised to ride one day with Medvedev.