Putin gets away with whatever he wants | Letters

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Isn’t it better to assume his behaviour is deliberate, rather than that he’s losing his touch, says Michael Peel. Plus Carolyn Kirton says Putin’s manipulation of the US presidential election and the Brexit referendum must have afforded him much satisfaction

There is another hypothesis about President Putin’s actions (Bungling agents leave Putin exposed in the global spotlight, 5 October). He is an old security agent himself and has been very successful in a complex environment. Isn’t it better to assume his behaviour is deliberate, rather than that he’s losing his touch? His recent actions, for example in Syria and the UK, demonstrate that he can get away with whatever he wants.

The Skripal case sends a message to possible opponents that they can never escape the Kremlin wherever they go, in a way that previous executions might not have done. Even this “bungled” operation shows that he can interfere with international agencies however he wants, so his influence could have had an impact in enhancing his preferred candidate in elections and other democratic processes. None of this will do him any harm at home. Maybe we should look more closely at his enablers in our own countries and ask whether taking Russian money to support their own personal interests is not in itself weakening democratic societies on behalf of a hostile foreign government.
Michael Peel
Axbridge, Somerset

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