PRESIDENT Digong said that he idolizes President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Probably, our president likes the zigging and zagging political style of Putin that makes the Russians wonder where things are and where they’re going. Putin, in return, admires our president’s mouth that not even United States, United Nations and European Union can control it.
The visit of President Duterte (The Punisher) to Russia will give him another chance to see President Putin (The Bear) and know more of his perpetual geopolitics, constrained economy, foreign policy and probably Putin will explain further his revival of the Russian military and his passion in taking Crimea. Putin would want to know more from Duterte about extrajudicial killings (existing or not existing), the flourishing drug industry, the fate of Gina Lopez and Leila de Lima, and the assaults of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Things can freely happen during our president’s visit to Russia. President Duterte will try to discover if there is still a distinction between Putin and Kremlin. Vyacheslav Volodin, the policy aide to Putin has this to say, “While Putin is there, so is Russia; once Putin is gone, so is Russia.” This is funny but President Duterte will surely learn from this considering that his presidency is good only for six years.
Putin is trying to be cute by describing himself to the world as “an employee working in management, providing services to the people.” The package team of Putin has presented the Russians a modest image of Putin embracing a cult of personality. Putin’s picture appears in many Russian homes and department store shelves.
This stroke towards dictatorship encourages the idea that the Russian state is Putin’s property. Putin is hardly a mysterious figure. His biography is well read. His political opponents have found no Machiavellian depravity in him. His hypocrisy and penchant for gambling are fundamentally rational and devoid of eccentricity.
President Duterte is not just our president. His is a builder of words and he wants to show it to Putin. “I do not pretend to be the man of the hour, I am not. I would just say, I’m a man who tried to do it. And succeeded. Or, a man who tried it and failed. History will judge me.” Our president has a gift of mouth… a God-given gift.
His love for the Filipinos reminds us (almost) of Ninoy Aquino. “I am not your perfect option. But I am your last card. I promise you, I will get down and dirty just to get things done. I will get things done. I will do it for the Filipino people.” These are his words minus the dirty words. Putin and Duterte will learn to love each other.
Putin, on the other hand, has merely crafted his own version of “sistema,” a complex practice of decision-making and power management that has long defined Russian politics and society that will outlast Putin himself. Putin has mastered “sistema,” but has not replaced it with “Putinism” or a “Putin system.”
President Duterte has “Dutertenomics” with a drive to build, build, and build. (I hope there is no corruption here.) This P8.4-trillion Dutertenomics according to some will shackle the country in debt for generations to come. China, the love interest of Duterte on new debt, will give us a growing $452 billion on a 10 percent interest rate.
Just like Putin, President Duterte is confident on his trust rating. He is very popular especially to women. Corruption sucks and sucks our government coffers until there is nothing to suck. This art of sucking is dangerous. We are not wishing that another disaster will come to our country. President Duterte has refused the financial assistance of European Union because he believes that we are not a “beg government.” That is the stand of President Duterte.
Putin never reveals his goals. Today for instance, Putin is concealing his preparations for the 2018 presidential election. His decision-making has become almost purely reactive. Putin Kremlin team has been extremely skillful. The team is good with Putin but they have no idea how to run Russia when Putin is gone.
Like Putin, Duterte runs the country his way. After Duterte, there is only the Republic of the Philippines left. After Putin, Russia may go down but not out. Someone will always restore Russia and the Philippines in their rightful place after the two presidents are gone. We look forward to a happy meeting between The Bear and The Punisher.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on May 23, 2017.
Latest issues of SunStar Bacolod also available on your mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Subscribe to our digital editions at epaper.sunstar.com.ph and get a free seven-day trial.