There is a distinct body of opinion that suggests that this autumn, Putin will have to do something dramatic–and I mean more than just bare-chestedly wrestling some new breed of furry predator–in order to reassert his political authority. In my latest column for Russia! magazine, I engage in some unashamedly unrealistic daydreaming and contemplate all the virtues in Putin turning on his Chechen warlord-satrap-PR nightmare, Ramzan Kadyrov and trying him for embezzlement and human rights abuses. I think it would be a bold and potentially-transformative act. I also think it is as likely as Medvedev launching a coup. After all, while I suggest in outline how it could be done (and if VVP wants a full operational plan, I’m sure he knows where to find me),
Even if it could be done, would it? Alas, here my daydream blows away in the chilly wind of realism. This would be a bold step and the irony is that badass action man Putin is a very cautious politician, one I cannot see making such a move. But nonetheless, this autumn may well see some bid to regain the initiative and persuade the country that the Kremlin still counts. If it is to be something more than another hamfisted PR efforts then it will have to be something bold, unexpected and meaningful. Vladimir Vladimirovich, I still humbly submit that liberating Chechnya from Kadyrov would be all three.