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In chapter seven of my 2006 non-fiction book, Epicenter, I encourage readers to watch for this future headline: “A CZAR RISES IN RUSSIA, RAISING FEARS OF A NEW COLD WAR,” and specifically suggest readers watch for Vladimir Putin to attempt to stay in power far beyond 2008.
On page 101, I wrote: “Putin has repeatedly promised he will not attempt to extend his stay in office beyond 2008….But how seriously should Putin’s many pledges be taken?…Now in his fifties, Putin is still a young man, at the top of his game, with no professional experience of any kind other than being a KGB-trained suppressor of dissidents and a rising political leader….[Russians] are looking for a strong hand to rule, and Putin is providing just that.”
Now comes this Reuters headline: “PUTIN SAYS NO PLANS TO LEAVE POWER.”
- “Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in power for over 10 years, ruled out a departure from politics on Thursday, telling a questioner: ‘Don’t hold your breath.’ The country’s most powerful leader made the comment with a smile when asked on his annual televised question and answer session with the Russian people if he would like to leave politics and start a quiet life.
- “Putin, 57, also said he ‘will think about’ taking part in the 2012 presidential election, when many Russians expect him to return to the Kremlin for a six-year term.”…
- “Although his ratings have drooped slightly to an eight-month low of 65 percent, down from 72 percent in mid-October, according to the FOM pollster, they remain numbers most politicians would envy after 10 years of rule. They also outshine those of his hand-picked successor Dmitry Medvedev, who most Russians believe has little real power. It was almost two hours into the question session before Putin mentioned Medvedev’s name at all.”
In separate coverage, we learn that Putin praised parts of Joseph Stalin’s legacy from the 20th century.
On page 102 of Epicenter, I wrote: “The more one learns about the Russia leader, the more one can understand why nearly everywhere I speak these days, people ask me, ‘Is Vladimir Putin Gog? Is he the Russian leader Ezekiel predicted would attack Israel [in the last days, according to Ezekiel 38-39]? It is an interesting question, given recent trends. Putin is certainly perceived as a rising czar. He speaks fondly of Russia’s historic monarchy. He is centralizing political power and control to himself. He is rebuilding Russia’s military for offensive purposes. He speaks of the collapse of the Soviet Empire as a catastrophe and talks of restoring the historical glory of Mother Russia. He is operating in a social and political climate that increasingly desires a leader along the lines of Joseph Stalin. What’s more, he’s steadily building political, economic and military ties with the very countries Ezekiel described in his vision of the future….All that said, however, one can neither definitively conclude that Putin is the one of whom Ezekiel spoke nor conclusively rule him out. Not yet, at least. More needs to happen in Russia and the Middle East before we can know for sure, one way or the other. Putin may, after all, simply be setting the stage for someone else to rise.”
HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- Der Spiegel (Germany): Israel’s Patience with Tehran Wearing Thin — Iran’s leaders continue to reject compromises over their nuclear program and are rebuffing the IAEA. The West is likely to respond with tighter sanctions, but that is unlikely to satisfy Israel, which has attack plans [for summer 2010] already drawn up.
- White House says time running out for Iran
- Iran will enrich uranium to 20%: Ahmadinejad
- Iran Ramping Up Efforts to Arm Anti-Israel Militias
- Lebanon Government Lets Hizbullah Keep Weapons
- Knesset Speaker: Jerusalem Will Never Be Divided Despite EU Plan
- Nov. 28: U.N. agency censure of Iran is backed by China, Russia
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