: :inin Kyiv (EET)

Neither oil, nor sanctions, nor entourage will stop Putin – Illarionov

Neither sanctions from the West, nor a drop in oil prices and the weakening of the ruble, nor the closest entourage of Russian President Vladimir Putin will stop the leader of the aggressor country.
President of the Institute of Economic Analysis and former Russian presidential advisor Andrei Illarionov said this at a press conference in Kyiv.
“Forget about that, don’t hope for that. That won’t happen. At least in the near future for sure,” he said, while commenting on the possibility that Putin’s entourage may influence his aggressive policy towards Ukraine.
According to Illarionov, the thesis whether the entourage of the Russian president understands where their leader is leading the country is “not essential,” because all important decisions in Russia are made by Putin: “Putin’s entourage does not make strategic decisions. In fact, one person makes strategic decisions in Russia in the external sphere, in the military sector, and in the case of waging the Russian-Ukrainian war. ”
The economist also advised not to hope that the decline in oil prices “would cause any cataclysms in Russia, which will make the Russian government abandon the campaign against Ukraine, including aggression.”
“Regardless of price levels, this aggression will still continue. Do not wait for this. The reality of an authoritarian regime with elements of totalitarianism is that there is a small chance of any significant social protests or political protests, and their success is close to zero,” Illarionov said.
Also, he does not believe that the devaluation of the ruble will influence the Kremlin’s aggressive policy: “The ruble was devalued, now already by 30%, or maybe even more. It means the real exchange rate of the dollar has substantially decreased, thus reducing the outlays of production, making production in Russia much more competitive on the domestic and foreign markets. Therefore, a decline in the ruble exchange rate leads to the revival of the economic situation in Russia.”
In this regard, Illarionov is sure that his ex-boss will not change the goal of his aggression against Ukraine: “The strategic goal is not just to take away the Crimea, not just to stage a war in eastern Ukraine. These are methods and tools to achieve a strategic goal. The strategic goal is to establish political, economic and financial control over Ukraine. All possible means are used for this purpose – from ‘little green men’ to ‘green pieces of paper.'”
Against this background, the former Russian presidential advisor predicted that the Kremlin would continue to exert military and political pressure on Ukraine, “for more than a month.”
“So do not expect that it will end tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, in a week or in a month. Get ready for a very lasting fight to defend your sovereignty and independence. One of these tools of fighting is external defense, and another is economic defense, such as economic reforms, avoiding default, eliminating the budget deficit and radical budget cuts,” Illarionov said.

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