Following Vladimir Putin’s win in the Russian presidential election, Shinkman writes, “[I]t’s yet unclear whether Putin will be able to distract from a stagnant economy at home – largely from ongoing U.S. and international sanctions – by focusing on the restoration of Russia’s standing abroad."
Levitsky, a former U.S. ambassador, concurs.
“The whole idea of pride and patriotism has a certain sway,” Levitsky says in the article, “but as the Bulgarians used to say, it doesn’t pay for the cheese.”
He continues, “Knowing Russia and Russians, the question of their economic and social position is beginning to take hold a bit. It’s not just the pride of coming back and challenging the U.S. and the West.”