Putin, a man with a mission

The on-going global crises and imploding MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region have clearly demonstrated that post-Cold War global order is undergoing a strategic change and uni-polarity has brought more misery for the humankind than the good old bipolar world. US’ ability to shape the geostrategic global environment has heavily rested on extensive and disproportionate use of military power.

However; the chaotic world and human suffering in most of regions of conflict suggest that it’s the lack or failure of leadership which has caused this chaos. Looking around the so called free world, we find the United Sates, Britannia and the European powerhouse of Germany as well as the torch bearer of liberty, France, all grappling with the challenge of stagnating leadership or statesmanship.

It was expected that humanity had reached a stage where larger understanding between different faiths and cultures will result into a more balanced and accommodative global order; however the holders of these ideals in the west failed on many accounts and treated the globe as a big market place where one currency and one culture was to prevail, the culture of McWorld. Unfortunately the controlled media and the academia in the west trumpeted the themes of End of History and Clash of Civilizations and tried to create cleavages amongst cultures and civilizations, resulting into further chaos.

Did the five trillion dollars spent by the west in waging wars in the Middle East, West Asia and even Ukraine bring democracy and freedom to the people of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Ukraine? Could the US and the West use this money to stabilise their own economies instead of attempting to remove the regimes of Saddam , Gaddafi and Yanukovych ? Who is responsible for the global chaos of the last three decades? Can we continue with this arrangement and what is the alternative? This is a million dollars question.

If we look around we find a couple of states and leaders with ability and motivation to stem the tide of this global chaos, only few qualify to provide an alternative leadership at global level; however one leader stands tall in this group of few, President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

I had done a leadership analysis of Mr Putin in one of my articles published few years ago and would take help from it to highlight the new leadership model needed to stem the tide of chaos in the world.

Mr Putin is credited with taking out Russia from the demoralising days of post- Cold War period into a thriving economy. He stabilised the Russian economy and re-established its prestige in the comity of nations.

The Guardian report on President Putin, published in 2015, highlighted the changes brought in Russia under his leadership: Within two decades, Russia changed beyond all recognition from the chaotic, open free-for-all it was under Yeltsin. Internationally it faced isolation, sanctions and a new cold war. At home, despite economic decline Putin enjoys perhaps the highest popularity rating of any Kremlin leader – an approval rating that topped 86%.

Russian GDP grew from 764 Billion USDs to a whopping 1.7 Trillion Dollars within twelve years, which also includes crossing 2 trillion dollars in 2015. Although the economy slowed due to sanctions by the US lead western countries, it has started rebounding with GDP at purchasing power parity to be over 3 trillion dollars.

The World Bank report for 2018-19 suggests that growth momentum in Russia increased in the first half of 2018. Real GDP growth totaled 1.3% y/y in the first quarter of 2018 and 1.9% y/y in the second. Overall, a sound macroeconomic framework, with relatively high levels of international reserves ($461 billion), low external debt levels (about 29% of GDP), and comfortable import cover (15.9 months), positions Russia well to absorb external shocks. Russia’s growth prospects for 2018-2020 remain modest, forecast at 1.5% to 1.8%.

Being mindful of need for diversification, President Putin has led the diversification; his year end message for 2018 to Russian and international audience is very clear, as reported by TASS news agency on 26 Dec, he said “We must seriously accelerate the pace of industrial development, strengthen our own scientific and technological base, promote the local sites of production and the development of new markets by Russian companies at home and abroad”.

Putin has also displayed astuteness and dexterity in handling the Ukrainian crises and happenings in the Near Abroad, even Syria has seen regaining stability due to Russian ability to help turn the tide against ISIS and other forces of disintegration.

As stated by the Guardian, demographically Russia was suffering from a falling rate in population, Putin took over a country whose population was falling at an alarming rate. Russia – a population of about 150 million people at time of the fall of the Soviet Union – was losing people at a rate of almost a million a year. But the decline gradually bottomed out, and in 2010 the population started growing again. The secret to this reversal was largely economic: as their financial situation improved during Putin’s reign, Russians began having more children. According to the state statistics service, the country now has more than 146 million people, up from 142 million in 2008.

The Eurasian Enterprise; President Putin has been a staunch exponent of Eurasian Enterprise and a multipolar world, he has shifted his focus to a greater strategic partnership and collective security within the Eurasian framework. He has also supported the Belt and Road initiative of China and looks forward to expansion of North South corridor to connect to warm waters of Afro Asian Ocean.

The Anglophone logic bubble and its pitfalls: For people in our part of the world and especially in Pakistan, the word ‘International Community’ means essentially the west, even our intellectual debates in media and academia are dominated by western schools of thought. Despite Russia’s special geostrategic position in Eurasia and Pakistan’s within SCO, we pay less attention to the rising rests including Russia. The CNN and BBC effect further augmented by Al Jezeera effect (all being the same) has almost blinded Pakistani public from what is happening in larger Eurasia. Pakistan needs to at least allow a balanced debate and study the emerging Russia under the dynamic leadership of President Putin as an alternative leadership model of global leadership. Pakistan should also establish a Eurasia Study Chair in all major universities to let the academia and our young generation study the rising economies in that region. We also need to introduce RT and Pravda viewership and readership in Pakistan so that people get a balanced view of what is happening in the world outside the prism of CNN and BBC.

If Mr Putin could take Russia out of crises and back into a prestigious position in Eurasia within a decade, we can learn something from his leadership skills and study his persona as an alternative model of global leadership, after all what has Western leadership accomplished through their leadership role at global level ,chaos and further chaos.


The author is a freelance journalist.



Adeela Naureen

The writer is a freelance columnists. Email: yalla_umar@yahoo.com

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