In various corners of Twitter and lesser dependable sites, one can hear stories that Putin has had several generals shot, already. True or not, it is Putin himself who may soon have more to fear than anyone in Moscow as Russia enters its first week with all sanctions fully in place, within an economy that looked to have all but collapsed last week. General David Petraeus told CNN New Day’s Brianna Keilar that the pressure on Putin will only increase from here, which could pressure Putin into withdrawing, or take his chances.
Petreaus stayed in his lane and didn’t pretend to know more than he did:
Well, I don’t want to predict something imminent, but, again, the fact is that negotiations are still taking place, the fact that clearly the economic consequences of this are going to start come home to roost in Moscow probably this week — at some point they’re going to begin to default on the rollover of their debt payments.
“At some point the [Russian] people are going to realize the stock market is never going to reopen, we aren’t getting much for our ruble anymore. Various products that they used to take for granted are just not going to be on the shelves in stores.”
It is very tough to lead a people whose lives have been turned upside down based upon a unilateral decision made out of pique, or even vanity, to say nothing of the families of dead soldiers and their feelings about their president. It seems to Petreaus that if Putin wants out, it has to come this week in some sort of negotiated settlement.
“Again, this is starting to happen and it will escalate in the weeks that lie ahead,” Petraeus continued. “McDonald’s is closed, for example. That’s a real penalty, to be clear. So people will be unemployed, the jobs they previously had won’t be available because businesses are decoupling from the Russian economy. As this continues, again, the pressure on Putin is going to build. he will not show it. he’s going to try to appear to dismiss it and so forth, but I think that’s a reality that he’s going to have to confront. These are unprecedented sanctions; we’ve never seen anything like that.”
Yes, well – Putin can appear to dismiss what he will, he cannot dismiss that feeling in the back of his mind that a lot of Russians hold him 100% responsible – because he is – and, we’ve already seen what Putin does to people he believes have failed him. If the chickens come home to roost in the Kremlin, Putin may want to weigh pulling back in Ukraine rather than over-taxing Russian citizens. Putin wants Ukraine. But he doesn’t want to find himself on the wrong end of a gun, either.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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