It is now official. Russia is in recession while the rouble is once again plummeting, but none of those who were explaining with a great certainty that sanctions only hit those who imposed them will have admitted that they have been wrong.
We didn’t expect them to apologise, since we want to believe they were acting in good faith and that to err is human, but some regrets, a single “in the end no, I was wrong”, would not have been too much, since these men and women, whether extreme right-wing figures or prominent commentators, contribute to shaping the public opinion and are accountable for their responsibilities. But no, nothing, nothing but a silence as abysmal as the silence that followed those forgotten moments when the European far-right found nothing but virtue in Mr Trump and Mr Putin, applauded the Brexiters, pleaded for a return to national currencies and called for an exit from this “people’s prison” that the European Union was supposed to be until the British inmates quit it by a simple vote.
The Brexit turned into a rout for Britain and its Conservative party. Donald Trump has become an embarrassment to the Republicans themselves. No one can deny anymore that Vladimir Putin has taken the war to Ukraine without a shadow of possible justification. As for the euro and the Union, European public opinion understands their necessity in these stormy times so well that their detractors have been exemplary in their discretion, if they have not outright converted to them.
So how can we fail to see that the new extreme right-wingers have never been right about anything? They have been wrong about everything, but one sometimes has the feeling that these obstinate misunderstanders could argue that 2+2 makes 5 without it costing them a single vote, because that would be seen as V sign given to the “elites”.
It is thanks to these extreme right-wingers that the Russian president still hopes to crush Ukraine and rebuild the Tsarist Empire. He tells himself that he has to hold out until his friend Trump returns to power and his European friends, and first Mrs Le Pen, succeed, but the American right has grown weary of its ageing star, Mrs Melloni is careful not to disassociate herself from the Ukrainians, and even Mrs Le Pen and her party must now see – not say it, but see it – that the sanctions are working and that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is pushing aggression into a retreat.
So however distressing the ability of these professional nonsense-mongers to get out of their lies that is not the point. What is important is that Mr Putin is in such a deadlock that he hardly dares to show his face, that a period in Russian history is so clearly coming to an end that even someone like Mr Prigogin is daring to dream of power, and that, at the same time, nothing is going well for the Iranian theocracy either.
Its Supreme Guide relies on the Russian president and vice versa, but both men and their regimes are in disarray because, even having a monopoly on arms, they no longer have the means to regain their footing. The water is rising and, against the current, they are getting more and more exhausted.