I don't know if you have noticed this, but the usual crowd of Putin bashers is being uncharacteristically quiet these days, especially the ones I call the "hurray patriots". Some of their blogs have simply been closed, others are apparently frozen, and those still minimally active are getting very few visitors (nope, I shall not name them here, both on principle and in order not to direct any traffic towards these cesspools). They are all apparently getting tired of chanting their favorite mantras ("Putin has sold out!", "Putin has betrayed Novorussia!", "Putin is a puppet of the oligarchs!", etc.). The reason for that sudden drop in energy is simple: the Putin bashers have just suffered a series of painful political defeats. Let's look at them one by one:
1) Russia has fully reopened the Voentorg spigot and done so quasi overtly (hence the huge convoy of trucks in the Donetsk city center, to make darn sure it is filmed and posted on YouTube). Whether this will be enough to deter a junta attack is unclear, but the fact is that the notion that Russia has "sold out Novorussia" is now demonstratively false.
2) At the Valdai club Putin made his most anti-Western speech (transcript here) since his famous Munich speech in 2007. As Mikhail Khazin correctly interpreted it, it appears likely that Putin is about to deliver an ultimatum to the West about new rules in international relations. We will see that at his address to the Federal Assembly.
3) Several key Novorussia leaders have openly expressed their total support and trust for Vladimir Putin, including Givi, Motorola, Bezler and others.
4) Alexander Zakharchenko was elected by a landslide in Novorussia. For weeks the Putin bashers had told us that Zakharchenko was the Kremlin's man (for the sellout of Novorussia, that is) and that the people of Novorussia did not trust him. This myth is now also dead in the water.
5) Finally, the hurray-patriots have tried to lure Igor Strelkov to participate in a nationalist demonstration "for Novorussia" but, in reality, "against Putin" and he harshly turned them down. He said that while everything was far from perfect, those who were calling for the removal of Putin were acting in the interest of the "enemies of Russia" and that they were trying to "set fire to their own home" (Colonel Cassad covered this - in Russian - here, here and here, hopefully the English Cassad will translate this).
In other words, in a relatively short span of time all the lies of the Putin-bashers were proven false, the people of Novorussia made the "wrong" choice, and now even Strelkov has firmly condemned these pseudo-patriots.
No wonder they are silently licking their wounds now...
For the record, however, I want to clarify the following. While I do really despise these Putin-bashers for their intellectual dishonesty and for being, at best, useful idiots, I am not accusing all those who are critical of Putin of being Putin-bashers. There are real and objective problems in Russia and the Kremlin is zig-zagging. As I have said it many times, there is a fight to the death going on between the "Putin people" (Eurasian Sovereignists) and the pro-Western "big money" (Atlantic Integrationists). Putin is fighting on both fronts at the same time: against the US Empire outside Russia and against what he called the "5th colunm" inside Russia. True, he is winning on both fronts (his latest popularity rating are something close to a "stratospheric" 88% I think), but he has not won any decisive victory yet on either front yet.
The good news is that the people of both Russia and Novorussia are clearly understanding what is taking place and that the pseudo-patriotic arguments of the Putin-bashers are having very little traction with them. This is not to say that Putin is some deity which cannot be criticized, but that to be credible with the Russian and Novorussian people, that criticism needs to be intellectually honest, factually informed and well-intentioned, not just a mud-slinging campaign.