November 26, 2022

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“Vladimir Putin Doesn’t Understand Europe”

Jean-Maurice Ripert is a diplomat, former French ambassador to Russia from 2013 to 2017, at the time of the annexation of Crimea and the Donbas, and then to China between 2017 and 2019. He analyzes the Russian president and his approach. His vision of Europe.

How did the mutual misunderstanding between Vladimir Putin and Europe come to be?

Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999, and at a time when Europe strengthened its union, Russia maintained mainly bilateral relations with individual states. He is a KGB lieutenant-colonel, a past master in the art of networks, a hunting organization born in the 1990s, especially in St. Petersburg, and does not hesitate to show very quickly that he will use force. In Chechnya.

We accepted him as the President of Russia. We expected badly that the country was going back to old ghosts.

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Mr. Putin has continued his predatory policy as long as possible. He ended up making a caricature of himself. He didn’t notice That is the European Union [UE] has become a power and the Russia-US duopoly is developing itself. He does not understand that the world has changed.

Europe is the first economic partner, the first investor. Russia is supposed to be the richest country on the planet, but it is still a rich country with a poor population. Let me remind you that this is the only place in the world where you can table a bill in Parliament in the morning – the Russians have nicknamed it. “Crazy Printer”.

Has Mr. Putin changed for you?

I don’t believe for a second that he has changed. inquires To determine whether Vladimir Putin is insane, neuropsychiatrist Boris Tsirulnik replied that he has the rationality of delirium. The Russian president is completely rational within a rationale that has little to do with reality.

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Who owns Russia today? Nationalist far-rights, oligarchs Mr. Dependent on Putin and the security forces. I don’t know how long this will last. After the invasion of Ukraine in late February, Russians voted with their feet; Hundreds of thousands of them have left.

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Vladimir Putin’s project is based on a form of Russian empire, a nationalist myth in the ethnic sense of the word. Officials about European diplomats were perpetually in conflict, dispute, and retaliation. All was well to destabilize them and create a balance of power. I was often summoned to the scene at odd hours by deputy ministers for anything and everything. It was a form of intimidation.

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