Answers to: Weak Putin Attacks the Baltics

First, this is literally absurd. If Putin news to invade a country for political reasons, he’ll just invade the Ukraine. He invaded it before and he’s ready to do so again. According to the Washington Post on September 10, , “The Zapad 2021 exercise, involving 200,000 troops, has NATO members and other neighboring countries on edge, echoing worries this spring over an unannounced Russian military buildup near Ukraine.”  Since the Ukraine is not a member of NATO and Russia has 200,000 troops ready to invade, this is how he’d solve any perceive political problem if the Pro is correct.

Second, Turn.  If NATO significantly increased its security commitments to the Baltics, this would be a geopolitical loss for Putin and make him look weak. According to the logic of their argument, he should then invade something, and since he’s ready to invade the Ukraine he’d just do that.  Frankly, it would also make him more likely to invade the Balticv states.

Third, Putin’s political strength is overwhelming

Alex Navalny, 9-18, 21, Why Putin Will Roll to Victory in Parliamentary Elections,

A three-day voting period commenced across the country early on Friday. As many as fourteen parties were registered to participate in the elections, but the ruling United Russia party is widely expected to retain its sweeping majority in the State Duma. Despite the common association between the two, there is not necessarily a one-to-one connection between President Vladimir Putin and United Russia—at least not in the minds of many Russians. Aggregate polling data from past years shows Putin’s approval rating to be consistently higher than United Russia’s. The latter currently sits at around thirty percent, while the former is generally believed to hover at around sixty percent, suggesting that there is a sizable subset of Russians who support the President but not the ruling party. The election is being held in the aftermath of what Kremlin critics are calling a far-reaching crackdown on Putin’s most vocal detractors, most notably against the jailed opposition activist Alexei Navalny. A recent expansion of Russia’s “Foreign Agent” law has made it riskier for Navalny’s associates and other Putin critics to continue operating in Russia, spurring a new wave of dissident migration to the Baltics, Georgia, Ukraine, and Western Europe. According to prominent dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza, dozens of opposition candidates were struck from the ballot; still more, he avers, were preemptively barred from running for office on spurious legal grounds ranging from dual citizenship restrictions to affiliation with “extremist” organizations. Several opposition parties, dubbed the “systemic opposition,” are still able to fully participate in the political process. Of these, three—the Russian Communist Party (CPRF), the populist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and the left-leaning nationalist For Truth coalition—have cleared the vote threshold for active representation in the State Duma. The “systemic opposition” differs from non-systemic actors like Navalny in that, though they often propose wide-ranging reforms and may even criticize specific Kremlin policies, these groups refrain from attacking Putin or the Kremlin directly and do not question the underlying legitimacy of the current administration. Still, even the systemic opposition faces roadblocks stemming from instances of alleged electoral misconduct. Boris Vishnevsky, a candidate from the liberal Yabloko party, told the Washington Post that he is being targeted by impersonators who are also running for office under the name Boris Vishnevksy. At least one of these is allegedly associated with United Russia. He believes that these purported decoys are trying to peel votes from him by tricking his supporters into voting for them instead of the real Vishnevsky. More prevalent, and more effective, than outright fraud is the government’s use of “administrative resources” to gently tip the electoral scales in its favor. Normally close-fisted, United Russia announced generous cash payments to wide swathes of the population just ahead of the September elections. The government’s sudden and rather uncharacteristic embrace of social spending is believed to be intended to undercut the messaging of opposition parties accusing United Russia of not doing enough to assist vulnerable groups in the midst of a pandemic. Perhaps the most impactful administrative resource is the government’s control over the news media, which paints the Communists—the most serious electoral threat to United Russia—in a consistently unflattering light whilst lauding the direction of the country under the current government.