You shouldn’t get the wrong idea about Vladimir Putin. Russians love him, and that’s good. Isn’t it? The most reliable poll in Russia from the Levada Center measured his popularity at 83% after the annexation of Crimea, whilst back in 2013 it was at a record low of 30%. (Note 1)
It seems fair to conclude that there is a universal sense of having been sidelined or humiliated in Russia, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and of being treated like a second-rate nation. The recent prominence of Putin on the world stage, which has come with his military adventures into Ukraine, has raised his esteem in the eyes of the ordinary Russian because they want to feel their country is glorious again.
Russians outside Russia
Perhaps the average Russian feels the same as Putin, who complained long before he became president that Russia had voluntarily given away large amounts of territory in former Soviet republics leaving 25 million Russians outside its borders. In 2005 Putin famously addressed the Russian Parliament saying:
“First of all we have to recognize that the break up of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”
… and again referred to the 25 million Russians outside Russian borders who needed protection. Apart from Ukraine, they are primarily to be found in the Baltic States and several countries that gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
The parallels with Germany’s sense of injustice and humiliation after the First World War are striking. This too led to Hitler’s obsession with protecting and absorbing Germans in other sovereign countries, which he successfully achieved with the Anschluss uniting Germany with Austria as well as the subsequent occupation of Sudetenland, which belong to Czechoslovakia. The German people loved him for it. His popularity rating was 100% (or else!)
So don’t get the wrong idea about Vladimir Putin – he may be almost impossible to read – even the Russian refer to him as the Black Box – but he has declared his intentions, and he is putting them in to practice. He wants to create a new expanded Russia with 21st century means of subtle warfare. It took three weeks to make Crimea a part of the new Russia, and this was done by subterfuge, lies – and without a single bullet fired. His popularity soared as a result.
At the same time, the insensitivity of Western powers to Russian anxiety is difficult to grasp. When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Russia was assured that NATO would not expand into the countries that neighbored Russia. But NATO did so, and even contemplated placing advanced missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland, despite the desperate protests of Russia. Even Georgia and Ukraine have broached the subject of NATO membership, and it seems incomprehensible that NATO has not ruled it out. This would go a long way to assuaging Russian fears.
NATO itself originated with a treaty made on April 4th 1949 with the Sun at 14.47 Aries exactly trine Pluto – a very appropriate pattern for a military organization. Mars and Venus are also in conjunction at 10 and 11 degrees Aries, and this conjunction in Aries repeats itself every eight years, notably again here in February/March 2015. It is a rock-hard alliance which right now is challenged by the Uranus/Pluto square to reassert its right to exist. NATO is sure to make a good display of reinforcing the borders of its eastern partners, which – considering the plans Putin has, and the risks he is prepared to take – is a course of action more likely to prevent conflict than create it.
The Rise of Putin
In August 1999 – the time of the infamous “Nostradamus” eclipse” – Putin became Prime Minister of Russia, supported by the then president, Boris Yeltsin. He was unknown to the public and few people expected him to last much longer than the five prime ministers, who had preceded him. (Note 3). He rapidly and brutally crushed the simmering uprising in Chechnya, and this contributed to his popularity.
With Yeltsin’s unexpected resignation on December 31st of the same year, he became acting president and later won subsequent elections in May 2000 to begin the first of two four-year terms as president. This was the time of the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction in Taurus – in fact all seven personal planets were all together in Taurus just before the election, which is an indication of the permanence and deeply traditional nature of Putin’s rule.
From 1999 to 2008 incomes in Russia increased by a factor of 2.5, and unemployment and poverty halved. These increases were mainly accounted for by the knock-on effects of huge revenues from oil and gas exports. Putin’s successful efforts to fight corruption, terrorism and criminality also went a long way to improving the quality of life in Russia, after the chaotic years of the Yeltsin administration.
Vladimir Putin October 7th 1952. 9.30 St Petersburg AS 3.10 SC
Lying as a Political Art Form
One of the things that has been difficult to grasp for foreign governments is the contradictory pronouncements that Putin has made in connection with Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Basically he is a man who lies in your face. According to Russia expert and author Samuel Rachlin, this is a well-known Russian sport that has a name: “vranjo”. It is a historical tradition in Russia to spread disinformation, and the Russian people tend to accept lies with a wink and a nod. Rachlin contends that “vranjo” is a ritual for the initiated, and that the ability Putin has to get away with lies is truly appreciated by the Russian people.
The astrological signature for this ability to dance with facts is clearly seen by the Mercury/Neptune conjunction in Putin’s 12th house. Its sextile to Pluto on the Midheaven shows his mastery of “vranjo” for political ends. Putin never tells the truth – even when he tells the truth, he is lying. (Truth and lies are means to an end).
With Scorpio rising and the Moon in Gemini and in the 8th house, this capacity for extracting information on the one hand and concealing it on the other is further exemplified. This moon is also semisquare Uranus and sesquisquare Saturn and Neptune, which shows a man steeped in conspiracy theories and with a sense of inferiority further emphasized by the Sun’s conjunction with Saturn. Putin loves to make ambiguous statements, and he is also surprisingly rude.
It is worth bearing in mind that Putin’s inner circle is composed of people with the same KGB background as Putin. (Putin rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel from 1975 to 1991), and that’s why they think the uprising in Ukraine is a CIA plot. World politicians should get wise to the fact that Putin cannot be trusted on his word. Three times in 2014 Putin claimed that Russian forces had withdrawn from Ukraine’s border, and three times satellite intelligence showed they had not moved. The response from Moscow was that the pictures were a year old.
Despite the recent agreement in Minsk on a ceasefire in Ukraine, Putin will not allow Ukraine to reconstitute itself with its existing borders, and we can expect – at best – a kind of stalemate maintaining the current ceasefire line, which will simmer for the next eight years. At worst, pro-Russian forces will take all the territory up to the Dnieper River. To prevent that the rest of the world has to make very loud noises backed up by firm action. Clearly separatists want to take Mariupol to establish a corridor to Crimea, and that is going to be very difficult to prevent.
The Cult of Putin
Meanwhile Putin will continue to cultivate his Superman image, flying fighter planes, throwing judo opponents, tranquilizing tigers and polar bears, scuba diving, hang-gliding and driving racing cars to name but a few activities that have made Russian women swoon. This superman quality is shown by Mars at 26 Sagittarius – right on the Galactic Center… hero of the universe. Mars in trine to Pluto on the MC shows that demonstrations of power are a political tool for him, and that he feels pretty invincible.
More than that, the conjunction of Pluto with the South Node and exactly on the Midheaven indicates an inherited dictatorial disposition. He yearns for the pastoral simplicity of tsarist times and Mother Russia. Now, having cultivated his macho image, he has grown to identify with it. Putin had actually tried to intimidate Angela Merkel by allowing his dog into their joint discussions. (Merkel is known to have a fear of dogs.) Her comment:
“ I understand why he has to do this — to prove he’s a man. He’s afraid of his own weakness.”
Merkel was later to comment, in connection with negotiations over Ukraine, that she though Putin had lost touch with reality. Basically Putin has lost it, and he is metamorphosing into dictator, accusing other nations of doing exactly what he himself is doing, and he will end up destroying his country.
The Galactic Plot
On February 6th 2015, Francois Hollande (note 4) and Angela Merkel travelled to Moscow to arrange a negotiated settlement to end hostilities in Ukraine. How curious it is that all three of these massively influential politicians have Mars at 26 Sagittarius in trine to Pluto. What are the odds of that? It seems Europe has superheroes of its own!
Both Hollande and Merkel are superbly equipped to deal with Putin’s power play. Merkel has her Mars rising in Sagittarius, whilst Hollande, an underappreciated politician in his native France, has his Sun/Pluto conjunction in trine to Mars. Clearly France and Germany will stand together and have the capacity to match the power play of Putin. Merkel speaks Russian, and Putin speaks German, and there is a good understanding, but little friendship between them. Merkel is clearly also an incredibly intelligent person – she has Ascendant ruler Jupiter exalted in Cancer conjoining Mercury in the 7th house, so she is a good listener and negotiator.
Angela Merkel. July 17th 1954. 18.00 Hamburg. AS 16.30 SG
Hollande and Merkel will probably be struggling with Putin for the next two years, and there will be little peace for them. Hollande has the Moon at 17 Capricorn in the 9th house, which indicates heavy times ahead, especially with the Pluto transit in 2017 at the time of the next election. Looks like he will lose that. Merkel can expect Uranus to conjoin her IC in 2016 later to square her Sun, so there may be upheavals for her too, which are quite likely to be associated with upheavals in the EU.
Putin’s Achilles Heel
Putin himself is playing the long game. Having silenced domestic opposition with the harassment of NGOs, imprisonment of political activists and total domination of a now self-censoring media, he can create the reality he wants. However, things will not go smoothly for him, and, with the December 2014 and March 2015 Uranus/Pluto squares straddling his Sun, he is probably having some sleepless nights. Any other politician in a democracy would probably be unseated at this time. (Note 5) However Russian rules are different, and there is nothing in Russia that is a threat to him.
Except one thing. Putin has Scorpio rising with Venus at 11.42 Scorpio. It is a weak position for Venus, and it resonates with the Venus/Pluto conjunction in Scorpio of the December 25, 1991 horoscope of the new Russia. In addition the November 9, 1917 Revolution horoscope has Venus opposite Pluto on the nodal axis, and the December 30, 1922 horoscope for the USSR also has Venus in Scorpio.
Last year Putin’s Mars progressed moved to square this Venus. As they are his Ascendant and Descendant rulers, he divorced his wife Lyudmila at this time on the pretext that she was tired of his presidential duties. The Moscow Times was brave enough to quote her saying that he was “a vampire”. There are claims that Putin is intimate with ex-Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, and, noting the square of Venus and Mars, it certainly seems likely.
Notably, progressed Mars is also square progressed Jupiter, and over the next 10 years it will continue to draw closer to the square with radix Jupiter. This is symbolic of a man throwing his weight around, the bully boy aspect, and he will continue to bully more and more as Mars moves to activate the Jupiter/Pluto square.
Since the annexation of Crimea a year ago, the value of the Russian ruble has fallen by half. The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia, and Russia has reciprocated, further isolating the Russian economy. Unfortunately for Putin, oil prices have reached a record low. Economically the good times are over for Putin. His strategy of creating a Europe that he could manipulate through its dependence on Russian gas is a double-edged sword. Europe now urgently sees the need to gain energy independence. There are plenty of alternative sources of oil and liquefied gas in these times of oil glut, and year by year wind and solar are lessening dependence on oil. On top of sanctions, which are starting to block Russia’s ability to develop international trade, Western companies are bailing out from Russia, because it is an unreliable trading partner.
The End of the Age of Putin
The likely scenario for the future is that the Russian economy will continue to crumble until the country is in dire straits. However, Putin will get reelected for another six-year term, which will be due to expire in 2024. If Medvedev is still around Putin may want to further extend his term by doing the President/Prime Minister swap that he successfully did in 2008. Theoretically he could do this until one of them drops dead.
However, because of the breakdown in Russia, due partly to economic ruin, partly to the ubiquity of the internet (and therefore accessibility of information) in Russia, and partly because Putin’s megalomania will be apparent to all at this time, the Russian people will not accept this. By this time Pluto will be in Aquarius, and this will give a whole new dimension of meaning to “power to the people”. There will be another dissolution period in Russia as the Saturn/Neptune conjunction kicks in just as both planets move from Pisces to Aries in 2025.
The problem is that Putin is on the wrong side of history. He sincerely believes that there is something essentially Russian in having a centralized state, which stamps its authority on its subjects. He thinks Russia needs to define itself in contrast to the dissolute values of the West. Tolerance and multiculturalism, as exemplified by an acceptance of different forms of sexual expression and an embrace of different religions are seen as signs of weakness and dissolution. Pussy Riot was Putin’s nightmare. Nationalism and conformity are seen as the way.
In actual fact, the opposite is the case. Borders are dissolving and people are being drawn together by interests completely independent of nationalism, religion and language. This will not happen in Russia while Putin is in power, but when he is cast aside, it will.
Adrian Duncan. February 19th 2015.
1. I have used Samuel Rachlin’s recent book “Jeg, Putin” as a reference for this information and as inspiration for this article. (People’s Press 2014)
2. Timothy Garton Ash, the British historian, reports this experience in St Petersburg in 1994 when he met Putin personally
3. Information from Wikipedia
4. Francois Hollande, August 12, 1954 0.10 Rouen, France
5. David Cameron, the British Prime Minister has his Sun at 15.27 Libra, so I imagine he will not win the UK election, which is to be held within the next three months.