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Facing resistance, Putin needs Trump win more than ever

16 0 0
31.07.2020


By Trudy Rubin

Four thousand miles west of Portland, Oregon, clear across the Pacific Ocean, there are other political demonstrations that deserve our attention.

In Russia's far eastern city of Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border, tens of thousands of angry Russians have turned out for three weeks to protest the arrest of a popular young governor. Sergei Furgal was pulled from his car, bundled off to Moscow and accused of 15-year-old murders, but his real crime was to challenge Vladimir Putin by defeating a Kremlin ally in elections.

What makes these demonstrations so stunning is that Putin has crushed similar protests in far off Moscow, and elsewhere. The Kremlin has also been cracking down on free press remnants and political activists since Putin orchestrated a July 1 referendum that permits him to remain president for his lifetime.

Yet serious economic problems, including low oil prices and the ravages of COVID-19 _ along with gross Kremlin corruption _ are eating away at Putin's legitimacy. The Kremlin was apparently taken by surprise by the outpouring of public fury in Khabarovsk and hasn't yet decided what to do.

Khabarovsk is a bracing reminder that, weakened at home, Putin will be even more eager to prove that Russia is still a global great power. That gives........

© The Korea Times