Letter From the Editors

Super Tuesday, usually a major event on the US presidential primary calendar, turned out to be, in the words of RG’s Igor Dunayevsky, “not so super” after all. In fact, the results were a foregone conclusion: Donald Trump’s swelling popularity among the paleoconservative electorate guaranteed him victories in all but one state – Vermont. Nikki Haley won there, but she withdrew from the race the following day, even though she had the backing of the more traditional conservative elites who do not want to see Trump retake the White House. However, Dunayevsky explains, Haley could still find herself on the ballot in November if Trump is convicted in any (or all) of the four criminal cases hanging over him. With the Supreme Court ruling that Trump can stay on the ballot in Colorado, though, America expert Konstantin Sukhoverkhov says the US is obviously “moving toward a presidential showdown between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.”

The US isn’t the only country with a looming presidential election – Russia’s is coming up on March 17. And on Feb. 29, Putin had a stumping opportunity most candidates can only dream of – the chance to deliver an address to the Federal Assembly. The address itself featured a rehash of justifications for the war in Ukraine and the usual scathing criticisms of the West, as well as announcements of rosy economic news and descriptions of fabulous new social programs and national projects that will bring prosperity to all Russians. Andrei Kolesnikov found the whole affair to be something of a snoozefest, marveling at one point that “everybody in the audience was still fully awake.”

Like any good journalist, though, Kolesnikov did remain alert for the entire speech, despite battling a cold. One of his main takeaways was: “[Putin] repeats so often that it wasn’t us who started the war [in Ukraine] that, after a while, you can’t help but wonder, ‘What if it was us, after all?’ Otherwise, why would someone repeat something as simple as that so many times?” What is yawn-inducing to some, however, is inspiring to others. Federation Council deputy chair Konstantin Kosachov, for example, writes that what he heard in the address was “a coherent, deeply calibrated and balanced comprehensive program” that was “impressive in scale, specificity and realism.”

Anyone who did doze off during Putin’s speech was likely roused from their stupor by the brouhaha surrounding “feisty” French President Macron’s startling statement about the possibility of sending NATO ground troops to fight in Ukraine. His words had other Western leaders – none known for their pro-Russian sentiments – backpedaling furiously in an effort to prevent an escalation with Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also reacted to the statement, warning that the presence of Western troops in Ukraine would lead to an “inevitable” conflict. Indeed, writes Aleksandr Zheleninv, a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is “the fruit of fantasies of the ruling Russian elite” and is becoming more and more “inevitable” all the time.

As Izvestia columnist Anna Kaledina writes in reference to International Women’s Day, “The day before March 8, men’s faces take on an aura of desperate intensity that hints at the cognitive process involved in deciding what gifts to bestow upon their beloved.” But, she concludes, women will be the ones losing sleep on March 9 when they have to clean up the colossal mess from all the “household duties” the men performed the previous day. So much for Clara Zetkin’s and Rosa Luxemburg’s fight for equal rights.

Some, however, are bravely continuing this fight and others in the face of tremendous obstacles. In an interview with Novaya gazeta Baltic, jailed oppositionist Vladimir Kara-Murza says in reference to Aleksei Navalny’s death: “You can’t stop the future, no matter how hard you try. Not with bullets, poison or prison. Even if none of us survive, others will take our place.”