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25 Feb, 2024 16:26

Putin defeated US plan for Russia – Nuland

The arch-neocon has told CNN that Washington wanted a compliant leader installed in Moscow
Putin defeated US plan for Russia – Nuland

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is “not the Russia that we wanted,” Acting US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has told CNN. Nuland explained that Washington wanted a compliant leader in the Kremlin who would “westernize” the country.

“It’s not the Russia that, frankly, we wanted,” Nuland told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. “We wanted a partner that was going to be westernizing, that was going to be European. But that’s not what Putin has done.”

Putin’s predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, enjoyed Washington’s support as he oversaw the rushed privatization of the Russian economy in the 1990s. Yeltsin’s reforms saw the rise of the so-called ‘oligarchs’, who amassed huge fortunes selling Russia’s natural resources to Western buyers, while the majority of the population dealt with declining life expectancy, soaring crime and homicide rates, and the collapse of the ruble.

Putin, who first took office in 2000, is widely credited with taming the oligarchs, imposing public order, and reversing the economic and social decline of the 1990s. Putin initially sought friendly relations with the West, telling American journalist Tucker Carlson earlier this month that he asked then-US President Bill Clinton whether Russia could one day join NATO, only to be rejected.

Putin nevertheless reached out to Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, with a proposal that the US, Russia, and Europe jointly create a missile defense system. While Bush’s team initially expressed interest, Putin said that “in the end they just told us to get lost.”

A combination of NATO expansion, American support for jihadist groups in the Caucuses, and Nuland’s orchestration of the coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014 made it clear that the US and its allies were not interested in cooperation, Putin told Carlson.

Nuland told Amanpour that Putin has “destroyed his own country” by intervening in Ukraine, and that the US will “continue to tighten the noose on him,” presumably by supplying Kiev with weapons and imposing additional economic sanctions on Moscow.

However, successive rounds of sanctions have failed to “crater” the Russian economy, as US President Joe Biden predicted they would in 2022. Instead, the International Monetary Fund predicts that Russia’s economy will grow by 2.6% in 2024, while the US’ will expand by 2.1%.

Likewise, the unprecedented influx of Western arms failed to rescue Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive from failure. The operation fizzled out in the autumn after Kiev lost around 160,000 men and failed to retake any of its lost territory, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russian officials have repeatedly said that they are ready to negotiate an end to the conflict, but that Ukraine must accept the loss of its former territories and commit to neutrality.