Friday, May 11, 2018

Putin Narrows Victors in World War II to Himself Alone, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 11 – With the help of his propaganda machine, Putin has reduced in the minds of many Russians “the great victory over Nazism” from one by “a coalition of victor- countries to the actions of a single one, the USSR, then to one part of that, Russia; then to one man, first Stalin and then his authoritarian successor, Putin” himself, Igor Yakovenko says.

            This “privatization of victory” has offended many abroad, including Belarusian leader Lukashenka who is especially upset by Putin’s not so implicit suggestion that other countries, the Balts and Ukraine in particular but possibly Lukashenka’s own as well are somehow “’heirs of nazism’” (

            To promote the link between the current Kremlin leader and victory in a war that ended before he was born, Yakovenko says, “the Putin illusionists in recent years have set the inauguration of Putin on the day immediately preceding May 9. That was the case in 2012; and it was the case in the current year, 2018, as well.” 

            Doing so, the Russian commentator continues, has the effect of eliding the two events into one. But unlike Stalin, Putin over the last 18 years has not achieved any great victory or committed any great crime of the kind that could and would be presented in Russia as a victory whatever his propagandists say.

            Efforts “to portray the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, the war in the Donbass and the participation in the genocide of the Syrian people look unconvincing,” Yakovenko says. Trying to make Poroshenko into Hitler simply doesn’t work.

            Moreover, “the great disappointment of television hawks, Putin clearly doesn’t intend to begin a real big power in which millions of Russians would die,” even though that would give him “a chance to crate a real cult.”  As a result, the commentator continues, the Kremlin propagandists have to work with what they have at hand.

            After the inauguration, the Putin cultists promoted the new May decrees as a focus. In these, “Putin ordered the Russian economy to become one of the give largest in the world, poverty to be cut in half, and life expectancy of Russians to grow to 78.” Achieving these goals is going to be tough even with the falsification opportunities the Kremlin possesses.

            One of the reasons is that Putin despite all the efforts of those around him has a record. In 1999, he “ordered” that Russia achieve the level of GDP per capita that Portugal, the poorest country in “’old’ Europe” has. He didn’t manage that.  And he has called for Russia to rise to the top five more than once – and not at any time achieved that either.

            “True,” Yakovenko says with obvious irony, “Putin has a completely new prime minister with great prospects, Dmitry Medvedev, and also an absolutely new deputy prime minister [Vitaly] Mutko, the man who lead Russian sports into total isolation and the greatest shame in history. Now he has become the chief in Russia for regions and construction.”

            Fortunately for Putin, there are some in Moscow who are bringing their creative efforts to bear. Three days ago, Oleg Matveychev said that if one includes Russia’s shadow economy in the GDP, then Russia is already in the top five. According to Yakovenko, if one does that, Russia may already be “in first place.”

            “But possibly the best explanation of how Russia will fulfill Putin’s May decree has been given by director Sergey Kurginyan,” the commentator says. Kurginyan says “Rus was born by a miracle, it has existed a millennium by a miracle … and if it continues to exist, “we will need [another] miracle.”

            Russia really does need a miracle, Yakovenko says. “But not in economics: The most necessary miracle would be if Russia in the foreseeable future changed those in power, and Putin and his accomplices will be brought before a court.  History shows that for the realization of such ‘a miracle’ will be required a great deal of effort both within the country and beyond its borders.”

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