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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Olympic Security, Sochi, President Putin and Muslim Extremists

Russia's President Putin certainly has a lot to worry about. Although Putin thrives on bravado, the world is not impressed by his swashbuckling photo opportunities. 

Eventually, events will usurp Putin's totalitarian leadership. Situations will ultimately implode around him, as it becomes difficult for him to bring peace to Russia,  

His immediate challenges:

1.  Sochi Olympic Games- Along with the emotional, not to mention the cost, of providing security for thousands of people who attend.

2.  Muslim extremism causing terrorist fear.  

3.  Syria - a country where the leadership of the tyrant President Assad is dependent on Russian support.  

4.  Ukraine- an uprising from a Russian controlled state that could become a revolution.

Security is being tightened across Russia in the wake of two suicide bombings in as many days in the southern city of Volgograd that have killed over 30 people and injured dozens. 

With the Olympic Games set to commence in less than six weeks in Sochi, a city located just a few hundred miles from the site of the attacks, this most recent stint of violence is causing added anxiety.

High profile suicide bombings throughout Russia in recent years have heightened concern about such violent extremism among the Russian public.

When asked about eight potential threats to their country, Russians said that Islamic extremist groups pose the biggest danger according to a Spring 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center. More than half (53%) claimed such groups were a major threat, trumping other potential dangers such as international financial instability (46%) and global climate change (46%). Women (57%) were more likely than men (49%) to consider such extremism a major threat.

Muslim extremism continues to grow in correlation to the oppression exerted to control this threat to peace in the world. Although Russia has no interest in supporting freedom of speech or religion for Muslims, the government's oppression of extremist Muslims only feeds their anger.

My advice to President Putin is to focus on bringing peace to Russia, before wasting time unjustly criticizing people based on their sexual orientation. Between the Ukraine uprisings, the war in Syria, where millions of people are displaced by their own government and the Muslim extremists who hate Putin, I don't think Russia is a safe place to begin setting up business.  

Russia is in trouble.

Sochi's Winter Olympics will come and go, but internal violence against Putin's leadership and Syrian genocide continues.

Nevertheless, leading Russia's very multicultural national identities is extremely challenging. Historically, it has only been accomplished by tyranny or when the nation has been galvanized by an outside threat.  

Obviously, President Putin isn't seeking advice from Maine Writer, but I'm not writing for his benefit. Instead, my purpose is to issue a sadly dire prediction about Russia. It's a nation at the tipping point of imploding. 

To that end, President Putin needs to stop swashbuckling around taking photographs of his staged bravado experiences.

Instead, he should be acting like a world leader who wants to create world peace rather than a tyrant intent on oppressing his enemies.

Undoubtedly, President Putin will be the happiest man in the universe when the Sochi Olympics are safely over. He'll have to figure out how to pay the extraordinary financial bills these international games and intense security will cost his people. Surely, he must've figured the cost was worth the investment. 

Olympics notwithstanding, the internal violence from Muslim extremists and revolts like in the Ukraine will not go away with the ending of the Sochi games. Resolving national and international problems will continue to challenge all Russian leaders. President Putin can't hold on to power forever. After Sochi, then what?

Therefore, the ultimate question is whether or not President Putin can lead Russia at all. It seems like his authority is becoming more heavily dependent on tyranny. This is not good for Russia and it's certainly a dangerous omen for world peace.  

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