Dangereuse année pour Poutine

MOSCOU – Au printemps 2008, le président russe Vladimir Poutine était aux angesampnbsp;: les prix du gaz et du pétrole atteignaient des sommets, les revenus de l’exportation faisaient déborder les caisses du Kremlinampnbsp;; délitée avec la fin du communisme en 1991, l’armée autrefois puissante se reconstruisaitampnbsp;; et Dmitri Medvedev, successeur trié sur le volet, était glissé au pouvoir, alors que Poutine optait pour une vie plus simple au poste de premier ministre.

En outre, les Etats-Unis demeuraient le faire-valoir idéal pour un dirigeant aux prétentions de leadership mondial. La politique étrangère incohérente du gouvernement Bush prévoyait la construction d’un bouclier antimissile en Pologne et en République tchèque, qui permettait à Poutine de raviver les anciennes dissensions entre la veille Europe et la jeune Europe apparues avec la guerre en Irak, et qui semblent renforcer l’influence de la Russie sur le continent.

L’apparent renouveau militaire de la Russie a aussi contribué à relancer l’économie du pays. Les ventes d’armes, pour près de 8 milliards de dollars, faisaient une fois de plus concurrence à la Grande-Bretagne et aux Etats-Unis dans plus de 80 pays, y compris au Venezuela, en Chine, en Inde, en Algérie, en Iran, en Malaisie et en Serbie. Ces ventes d’armes étaient souvent étroitement liées à l’assurance de Poutine à l’étranger. En effet, l’armée russe dispensait des formations et réalisait des manœuvres à maints endroits pour la première fois, notamment au Venezuela, comme si elle se préparait à une autre crise des missiles cubains, avec Hugo Chávez dans le rôle de Fidel Castro.

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