Mike Tyson put it simply: ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’. And Vladimir Putin has just experienced a blistering one-two: fierce resistance on the battlefield, trashing his plans for blitzkrieg, followed by the rabbit punch of international sanctions that will soon rock the whole of Russian society.
‘Putinism’ is not an ideology that can command intellectual or spiritual loyalty if it doesn’t deliver. It is not an ‘ism’ like Marxism. It is simply a Mephistophelean deal with the Russian people: if I can have double-glazing and a half-decent smartphone, you can have yachts and palaces. That deal is now off the table.
People may not be taking to the streets, but that’s in part because they’re standing in queues at Ikea and Uniqlo to grab worldly goods before the shutters come down for a very long time.