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Le dernier homme encore debout

LONDRES – Un pan considérable de la géopolitique moderne semble aujourd’hui égaler le scénario de Game of Thrones, à l’heure où de nombreux États sont confrontés à de telles difficultés politiques et économiques que leur seul espoir consiste à voir leurs rivaux s’effondrer avant eux. Ainsi les gouvernements s’accrochent-ils au pouvoir, tout en exploitant les faiblesses internes de leurs adversaires.

Le président russe Vladimir Poutine en constitue un parfait exemple. Bien que ses récentes campagnes en Syrie et en Ukraine puissent apparaître comme l’œuvre d’un pirate des mers géopolitiques, l’aventurisme du président russe puise en réalité sa source dans une fragilité sur le plan intérieur. L’annexion de la Crimée par la Russie, par exemple, s’explique en grande partie par une volonté de conférer au régime de Poutine une légitimité renouvelée, à l’issue d’une période hivernale de mécontentement au cours de laquelle des manifestants avaient envahi la rue pour protester contre le retour de Poutine à la présidence.

Les puissances qui lui sont rivales – en particulier les États-Unis et l’Union européenne – ont mis en place des sanctions dans l’espoir d’accentuer les fissures au sein de l’élite russe, en exploitant le fait que Poutine n’ait pas diversifié son économie à l’écart du pétrole et du gaz. De son côté, Poutine espère voir l’économie russe demeurer à flot suffisamment longtemps pour assister à l’effondrement de l’Ukraine. Afin de précipiter cette issue, le Kremlin exploite tous les leviers de déstabilisation dont il dispose : incursions militaires, manipulation de la politique en Ukraine, recours au chantage énergétique, et mise en œuvre d’une véritable guerre de l’information.

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