Trump, Ukraine, Syria: what are Putin’s plans?

Russian political scientist Stanislav Belkovsky analyzes the plans of the head of state in domestic and foreign policy.

Le Point: What is the mood of the Russian leader a month and a half after the election of Donald trump?

Stanislav Belkovsky:
the idea of the existence of enthusiasm about the election of Donald trump’s incorrect. The Kremlin was prepared primarily to win, Hillary Clinton, and the purpose was to denigrate the American democratic system and show that the vote was rigged and gave Trump to win. The election of billionaire broke the plans of Putin’s people. Now they pretend that they are waiting for the favor of Washington, but not really illusions. In General, they would prefer to work with Hillary Clinton because she is more predictable.

— What role it intends to play Putin in the Ukrainian crisis?

Putin expects nothing from the Minsk agreement, because it considers them inappropriate. First of all, he awaits the fall of the Ukrainian government to reclaim the country into Russia’s orbit. So it with interest looks at the corruption scandals in Kiev and escalating economic crisis. I do not exclude the extension of the war with promotion of Pro-Russian forces into Ukrainian territory. Putin can give such an order under the pretext of a humanitarian disaster. He needs talks with trump. And the arguments at the scene.

— And in Syria?

— You can imagine the agreement the US and Russia on combating terrorism. Moscow, of course, will require in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Only now they are linked to the violation of international law in the Crimea and Ukraine. I think Washington will keep them in power.

— Putin will again run in 2018?

— He has no reason not to. However, you need to have enough health, about what now there are rumors. Rumor has it that he has serious health problems, although no evidence there. It will be seen whether it will preserve the same levels of activity in the coming months.

— If not Putin, then who?

— I see two options: the current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Alexei Dyumin, who was Deputy defense Minister and later became Governor of Tula. He was the bodyguard of Putin and now climbs the corporate ladder. He was involved in the evacuation to Russia of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych after the revolution on the Maidan in February 2014. In addition, he led the special forces during the annexation of Crimea. Already these two facts are sufficient to show that he enjoys huge trust. Anyway, Putin’s decision very difficult to predict. He often practiced disinformation in their environment.

— What can you say about participation in the election of the blogger and corruption fighter Alexey Navalny?

— The Kremlin is thinking about it. This can not be excluded. According to polls, Navalny can score 10%. All these people will go to the polls. The Kremlin also need legitimacy in the re-election of Putin. That means a victory over a real opponent.

— How do the authorities perceive the presidential campaign in France?

— They focus on one thing: Emmanuel macron regularly under attack in the media. He presented a candidate system, the successor of françois Hollande, who supports sanctions. There was even talk that he’s gay.