Russian President Vladimir Putin poetically described his view of the punishing sanctions placed on his nation after the slow-motion invasion of Ukraine, explaining the West was seeking to “chain” and declaw the mighty Russian bear.
At his annual televised news conference, a defiant Putin told reporters that the ongoing collapse of the Russian ruble — brought on by sanctions and plummeting oil prices – will not deter him from encroaching on Ukraine and other Eastern European neighbors.
“Maybe the bear should sit quietly, rather than chasing wild boar big and small on the taiga, and should switch to eating berries and honey,” Putin said angrily. “Will he be left in peace then? No way?”
“They will keep trying to chain him,” the Russian leader warned. “And as soon as he’s chained, his fangs and claws will be pulled.”
Putin continued the metaphor while describing the perceived hypocrisy of Western powers, who have called on Russia to relinquish their claim on Crimea and cease meddling in eastern Ukraine.
“To chop Texas from Mexico is fair, but when we make a decision about our territories it is unfair,” he said. “Do they want our bear to become a stuffed animal?”
The Russian ruble took a severe tumble this week, losing fifteen percent of its value and setting off a wave of purchases throughout the country. The president would only admit that about a quarter of Russia’s economic catastrophe was caused by Western sanctions.