He announced he was running in September; four months later, Vladimir Putin is finally offering Russia an account of his reasons for seeking the presidency once again. Russia has entered a "zone of turbulence," and guess who Putin believes is the man to see it through to the other side? Yes, Putin! It's a time for gradual change, he writes in a "manifesto" published today in a daily newspaper: "A recurring problem in Russian history is the desire of a part of its elites to make leaps, to embrace revolution instead of sequential development. Not only Russian experience, but all world experience shows the fatal result of historic leaps: haste and subversion, without creation."
Any new leaders would be susceptible to corruption and "parasitism," he writes. But the problems aren't just internal: Putin warns of "aggressively destructive forces" across the globe, asserting that Russia—which "combines the fundamental basis of European civilization and many centuries’ experience of cooperation with the East"—must act as a bridge between East and West, the New York Times notes. Putin also questions the long-term effectiveness of the protesters who took to the streets last month, in a tone the Times calls "irritated": "Today people are talking about various forms of renewal of the political process. But what are we supposed to be negotiating about?"