Thursday, December 18, 2014

Putin's Popularity Could Change Faster Than Many Expect

A GOVERNMENT television channel dubbed Vladimir Putin's latest state of the nation address "A Message from Above". Dmitry Kiselev, Mr Putin's chief propagandist, even likened it to speeches by Roosevelt, Churchill and De Gaulle.
Mr Putin's sermon had both messianic and defensive overtones. He called Crimea a sacred place, rather like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
"It was in Crimea, in the ancient city of Chersonesus or Korsun, that Grand Prince Vladimir was baptised before bringing Christianity to Russia ... this allows us to say that Crimea and Sevastopol have invaluable civilisational and even sacred importance for Russia. And this is how we will think of it--from now and forever."
Andrei Kuraev, a Russian Orthodox deacon, noted in his blog that, although Mr Putin's statement had little basis in religion, it resembled Mussolini's 1930s assertion that "Ethiopia, from now and forever, belongs to Italy which has become what it was during the time of Julius Caesar."
In fact, remarkably few Russians are even aware of Vladimir's baptism in Crimea. For them the peninsula is linked to hedonism rather than spirituality. It was a place for holidays, summer romances, state sanatoriums and dachas. It is also at the heart of Russia's post-imperial nostalgia, and it was to this that Mr Putin was appealing.
Soviet ideology proclaimed a Utopian future; modern Russian ideology focuses on the past. But the key ingredient of confrontation with America remains the same. In his speech Mr Putin cast it as part of an existential struggle for Russia's survival as a sovereign state, likening the West to Hitler who "set out to destroy Russia and push us back beyond the Urals".
Western sanctions, Mr Putin insisted, were a result not of his meddling in Ukraine, but of America's desire to weaken Russia: "If none of that [ie, Ukraine] had ever happened, they would have come up with some other excuse to try to contain Russia's growing capabilities."
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1 comment:

WW2 Fallen 100 Project said...

Actually, the best comparison to Putin is Hitler:

The Hitler Putin Connection