In the West, more and more politicians are calling for Putin to be overthrown. This is a sign of how little is known in the West about today's Russia, because without Putin, Russia would act much more anti-Western.
In the West, one hears more and more often that one should not negotiate with Russia under Putin. This is an open demand to carry out a regime change in Russia. However, this demand by Western media and politicians shows that they have absolutely no understanding of Russia.
A color revolution in Russia?
Apparently, those who make the demand to stop negotiating with a Russia under Putin think that there should be a color revolution in Russia, like the Maidan in Ukraine in 2014. These representatives of the West fail to recognize one thing: In the vast majority of Russian society, the model of Western democracy has a bad reputation. Russians were allowed to experience "Western democracy" in the 1990s, and that was probably the blackest period of the 20th century for Russia. In Russia at that time, lawlessness, police arbitrariness based on corruption, and state institutions had effectively collapsed.
Instead of doing something about it, the West celebrated this broken Russia as a "partner," while the people were impoverished and subjected to arbitrariness at all levels. Salaries, which were already far too low, were often not paid for months, and turning to state authorities to even report a robbery, for example, was pointless.
Of course, there is a young generation in Russia that does not remember this and is therefore receptive to the West's propaganda about supposed democracy and prosperity. But this is a minority, because the majority remembers the 90s and they have seen with a look at Ukraine, supposedly democratic after the Maidan in 2014, that "Western democracy", when built in states of the former Soviet Union, leads to conditions that have been like in Russia in the 90s. Or - see the war in the Donbass since the Maidan - it gets worse.
At the same time, everyone in Russia sees the example of Crimea, which united with Russia in 2014, and everyone sees that the standard of living in Crimea is much higher than in Ukraine, to which the peninsula belonged before.
Traditionally, the two largest Russian cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, have been the most critical of their own government and receptive to Western propaganda. In the rest of Russia, however, the mood is very pro-government. The few self-proclaimed Western "Russia experts" who have even been to Russia are obviously fooled by what they see in Moscow and therefore believe that a Maidan is possible in Russia.
Why a color revolution in Russia is unrealistic
Color revolutions always work on a fairly simple principle. Western NGOs, for example George Soros' Open Society Foundations or the National Endowment for Democracy, build networks in the country in question, which they finance and which become dependent on the NGOs. And, of course, there is always a lot of money involved.
These networks are activated at a certain point in time and bring their sympathizers out into the streets. They are a minority in the country, but the images of large protests convey a different picture. The West is then always quite enthusiastic about the "democracy movement" and supports it to the best of its ability.
In the West, people know how such things work; after all, they have implemented them often enough themselves. Therefore, it would be impossible in Germany, for example, for genuine opponents of the government to set up a tent city at the Brandenburg Gate and build a huge protest camp there for months - completely without permission from the authorities - from which violence against the police also emanates. In the West, something like that would be nipped in the bud within the first few hours.
But it was exactly the same with the Maidan: Some protesters, there were less than a hundred at the beginning, set up tents on the Maidan and did not leave despite orders from the authorities. If the government in Kiev at that time had simply insisted on compliance with the law and immediately put an end to this show of consistency, there probably would not have been a Maidan, because it took the protesters ten days to organize the first big protest on the Maidan.
The Russian government is also well aware of the modus operandi of the regime change specialists of the West. Therefore, Russia some time ago cracked down and banned all Western NGOs known for organizing such coups. Even cooperating with them and attending their seminars, where regime change techniques are taught, are now punishable in Russia.
Without the coordination of protests by Western NGOs, color revolutions, in which a loud and violent minority takes coordinated action, are impossible. And just as Germany would immediately stop any attempt at regime change rather than tolerate an illegal protest camp demanding regime change in Germany for weeks in the center of Berlin, so too would Russia nip such attempts in the bud.
A color revolution is therefore unlikely in Russia
A pro-Western overthrow of the government emanating from the people is completely unthinkable in Russia, because there is no majority for it among the population. The majority of Russians do not want to live in a Western-style system, and this also applies to the leading figures in ministries, authorities and the media.
This is by no means my own assessment; it is the result of surveys that have been conducted for many years by an institute that is not exactly pro-Russian. The majority of Russians do not want to live in a Western-style political and economic system. According to the last poll on the subject, only 24 percent of Russians wanted to live in a Western-style economic system and even only 16 percent of Russians wanted to live in a Western-style political system, the details of the polls can be found here.
What if Putin is no longer president tomorrow?
Putin has always relied on negotiations with the West until the very end. That Putin has now ordered the intervention in Ukraine may have been the most difficult decision of his life. After all, if that had been his goal, Putin could have created a fait accompli in Ukraine back in 2014, when the Ukrainian army was effectively non-existent.
This is also what Putin is accused of by many in Russia: He has acted too hesitantly all these years, relying on negotiations with the West even though the U.S. has unilaterally canceled one treaty after another with Russia. The West has used this time to develop Ukraine politically and militarily into a beachhead against Russia. Russia's hardliners see themselves as right and say negotiating with the West for so long was a mistake that only helped the West. The voices of those calling for a tougher stance are growing louder in Russia.
So if what many in the West would like happen to see, namely Putin being removed from power, the likelihood is that after Putin would come a president who would take a far tougher line and be far less willing to talk to the West at all.
Putin began his term over 20 years ago by proposing in his speech in the German Bundestag that Russia and Europe should join forces. For 20 years, that was his goal: an economic and cultural partnership on the Eurasian continent, encompassing countries from Lisbon to Vladivostok. It was only fairly recently, perhaps a year or two ago, that the EU's anti-Western policies led Putin to realize that this was unrealistic.
You notice that in his choice of words. He never verbally attacked the EU and its members. His very clear criticism was always directed at the U.S., because Putin had the hope that a strong EU would eventually be able to stand up for its own interests and free itself from U.S. dominance. Therefore, for a long time he made every effort not to upset anyone in Europe. However, the last year or two have definitively shown that it is currently illusory for the EU to free itself from the dictates of the USA.
That this interpretation is likely to be correct can be seen from Putin's choice of words. While Putin spoke of the "European partners" for 20 years, today he speaks only of the European "vassals" or "satellites" of the USA. Putin - and with him the Russian government - no longer see the EU and its members as players in international politics; they see the EU only as a vicarious agent, a colony, of the United States. And just as it would have made no sense to negotiate anything with India in the 19th century because the decisions for India were made in London, Moscow no longer sees any point in talking to the EU and its members because their decisions are made in Washington.
So it is very likely that Putin - if for some reason he suddenly loses power - will be replaced by someone who would take a much harder line toward the West. And that is why all the calls in the West to stop talking to a Putin-led Russia are an expression of political ignorance. If the West wanted to reach a negotiated settlement with Russia, it would have to try to do so while Putin is Russian president. After that, it is likely to be much more difficult.
The real decision-makers in the West should know that, which is why we can assume that they don't want a negotiated solution. They want to bring Russia to its knees, even if Putin were no longer president tomorrow. They care about Russia itself, about its mineral resources, which they want to get under control, and about its geopolitical power, which they want to break.
Politicians who are now demanding that they stop negotiating with Putin and are betting on a change of power in Russia are very useful idiots for the real decision-makers in Western politics, who are only making their demands out of ignorance, because they don't know the situation in Russia at all, but have themselves fallen victim to Western propaganda, which claims that Russians are longing for a Western-style democracy. As the polls show, however, this is nonsense, only few in the West, politicians included, are likely to know this.
Therefore, the West should be glad that Putin exists. Without him, Russia would probably appear much more anti-Western.