If Putin does decide to hand back the Kuriles to Japan, he continues, “the population will have to unanimously approve this decision of the boss and not protest. And they will approve it, have no doubt,” Portnikov says. They will celebrate this great act of statesmanship and dismiss the questions of any foreign journalist who may inquire about how they feel.
To the question as to how they can put up with a loss of territory, they will answer “’on the other hand, we have peace with Japan,’ ‘on the other hand, we have investments,’” or simply “’you are a provocateur,’ ‘Russia is a generous soul,’ and what is most important, ‘this isn’t ours!’”
Exactly the same thing would occur with Crimea, Portnikov continues. “No one should doubt it.” When Putin or his successor decide to return Crimea to Ukraine “to achieve the normalization of relations with the West and ‘the eternal friendship with a fraternal country,’” a few will protest and they will be dispersed by force.
Despite expectations, “the rating of the ruler on the day of handing over Crimea to Ukraine will rise to the heavens,” and Russians will celebrate what he has done – and they’ll use exactly the same terms that will be used about the Kuriles. After all, that is what Russians will be told to think by television.