Putin’s Democratic Makeover

Charles Glover has some interesting quotes from polittechnologist Aleksei Makarkin in this FT blog post.

“Putin is very pragmatic, he has got political intuition” he said. “Putin knows he needs to re-brand himself in order to be able to deal with the west.”

More prominent, he said, was Mr Putin’s decision in April, together with Polish prime minister Donald Tusk, to lay a wreath for the victims of the 1940 Katyn massacre, in which nearly 22,000 Polish army officers were killed by the NKVD, the precursor to the KGB.

That, said Mr Makarkin, was a real step for Mr Putin, who in the pasthas railed against western attempts to heap shame on Russia for itsbrutal Soviet legacy.

He said the step was premised by the need to open doorways to Europe:”The consensus has shifted and everyone understands that to have aneconomy of innovation, you cannot isolate yourselves from the globalcenters of innovation” said Mr Makarkin. “Hugo Chávez is not going tohelp us with this project” he joked, referring to Russia’s courting ofVenezuela as an ally.