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Putin didn’t disappear, he’s delegating, like all responsible leaders should do

The Western Mainstream Media's aggressively propagated infowar narrative that President Putin "disappeared" and is "paralyzed" in the face of World War C is factually false because it ignores the Russian leader's regular videoconferences with various officials that are widely reported on by his country's domestic media, which actually prove that he's decentralizing state affairs to a degree by delegating important tasks to relevant decision makers, as all responsible leaders should do during times of crisis such as this one.

Yet Another Infowar Product From The Fake News Factory

The Western Mainstream Media never tires when it comes to disparaging President Putin even if their latest infowar narrative contradicts everything that they’ve spent over the last decade trying to indoctrinate their audience into believing. The so-called “Fourth Estate” previously invested much of its efforts into wrongly depicting the Russian leader as a “dictator” who’s supposedly “obsessed with controlling everything” in his country, which is why it’s so surprising that they’re now aggressively propagating the notion that he’s “disappeared” and is “paralyzed” in the face of World War C. This claim is factually false since it’s refuted by his country’s domestic media consistently reporting on his regular videoconferences with various officials, but it’s likely being pushed upon the public anyhow in order to artificially manufacture a sense of uncertainty about Russia’s long-term political stability, which could then be used as another angle from which to attack the progress that he and Trump have recently made in pursuit of their hoped-for “New Detente“.

Russia’s Ongoing Decentralization Process Should Be Celebrated, Not Condemned

Far from shirking his duties, President Putin is embracing them like never before, albeit in a manner which admittedly caught his critics unaware. They’ve invested so much time, money, and effort into portraying him as a “power-hungry dictator” that they’re simply unable to adapt their weaponized narrative to the reality that he’s now decided to decentralize state affairs to a degree by delegating important tasks to relevant decision makers, as all responsible leaders should do during times of crisis such as this one. No single individual, let alone of the world’s geographically largest state, can deal entirely on their own with such a situation as World War C, hence why President Putin made the wise choice to share the burden of leadership with other officials. It would have been egocentric to the extreme as well as highly dangerous if he believed that he could single-handedly manage Russia’s response to COVID-19, which is impossible for any one person to do. Nobody has the knowledge, time, and management capabilities to take full “dictatorial” control over such a crisis.

Russia Isn’t A One-Man Show

President Putin is aware of his limitations as a human being, and he also has an eye on his eventual retirement from public life, whether that’s as early as 2024 or perhaps even as late as 2036 if the public approves constitutional amendments to allow him to run for two additional terms during a forthcoming referendum, the date of which is presently unknown since the it’s been indefinitely postponed because of World War C. Whatever one’s criticisms of the Russian leader might be, few would ever assert that he isn’t a skilled manager, for better or for worse depending on their perspective. With this in mind, it’s completely within his character to gradually prepare for the country’s inevitable transfer of power whenever that moment arrives, hence why he understands the importance of delegating responsibilities to relevant officials in the context of the current crisis in order to reduce the country’s dependence on him personally. This is also in line with the proposed constitutional amendments that aim to reduce the power of the presidency in favor of parliament.

Russia’s Decentralization Is Over A Decade In The Making

There’s some truth to the claims that President Putin previously concentrated a lot of power in his hands, but that was entirely legal within the framework of the Russian Constitution and was mostly exercised in response to the federal intervention in Chechnya that characterized the country’s most pressing domestic challenge at the beginning of the century. Under powerful presidential systems such as Russia’s, the elected head of state has the final say in deciding the country’s course of action in crisis situations, which enables it to more rapidly respond to challenges as they develop. Seeing as how that particular one has been completely resolved, it was fitting for President Putin to begin gradually loosening the reins of control over the country as it returned to normalcy, which explains the expansion of his United Russia party throughout the land and its embedding of influence into practically all public state structures. This initial phase of pragmatic decentralization was followed by the “technocracy” that former President Medvedev encouraged during his time in office.

Constructive Criticism Of Russia Should Be Fact-Based & Fair

The third phase is the present one that’s currently unfolding before the world’s eyes whereby President Putin has sought to constitutionally reform the state legislature in order to grant it more responsibilities by the time he leaves office. The unexpected onset of World War C simply accelerated these plans that were already in progress since the official end of the second federal intervention in Chechnya in April 2009. Therefore, it’s not out of the ordinary whatsoever for President Putin to take advantage of these circumstances by “leading from behind” while tasking relevant officials to “lead from the front” in his stead, which they’ll eventually have to do once he inevitably leaves office. As the author wrote in March 2018, “It’s Okay To Constructively Criticize Russia, Even President Putin Does It!“, and even RT published an usually scathing op-ed the other day about the Russian government titled “Once he recovers from Covid-19, PM Mishustin faces new ordeal – reviving economy & Kremlin’s popularity with thinning oil kitty“. Such criticisms, however, should be fact-based and fair, but that isn’t the case with the Mainstream Media’s latest infowar attack, which therefore makes it propaganda.

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Andrew Korybko

Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. He specializes in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China's Belt & Road Initiative, and Hybrid Warfare. His other areas of focus include South Asian affairs and the US' recent restoration of hegemonic influence in Latin America.

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