Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Four Chief Characteristics of the Professional Putinist

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 5 – One does not encounter Putinists in a pure form very often, Moscow commentator Maksim Mirovich says. Many vote for him out of ignorance, the lack of independent sources of information or simply because everyone one does so.  But there are “professional Putinists” and they share four important characteristics.

            To be sure, the professional Putinists have much in common with other groups like vatniks, anti-Westerners, or supporters of the restoration of the USSR, Mirovich says; and the members of all these groups have no difficulty in finding a common language. But the professional Putinists are distinct (

            First, “the absolute majority” of them are anti-Western. For them the West is the source of all evil and a good target, the commentator says. They don’t notice that the Kremlin promotes this view to keep itself in power for ever by causing Putinists to oppose the democratic rotation of rulers. 

            At the same time, “the majority of professional Putinists are also Stalinists,” not because they support everything he did or want to live under him but because he is a symbol of ‘everything anti-Western and anti-civilizational.”  That is why these people also support all others who oppose those values, people like Pol Pot, Ceaușescu, Idi Amin and Kim Jong Il.

Second, Professional Putinists, Mironov says, “fear and hate Jews and believe in magic.”  They take their attitudes toward Jews from the Black Hundreds at the end of Imperial Russia and from Soviet persecution of Jews; and they see the actions of Jews in places even where there aren’t any, insisting that this too is part of a Jewish conspiracy against Russia.

Moreover, “the majority of Putinists following the example of their poorly educated leader also are very superstitious people” who put their faith in magic and worry about numerology.  They see this magic as being arrayed against them and count on their own cleverness to prevent it from defeating Putin and Russia.

Third, “absolutely all Putinists are given to conspiracy thinking and believe in a secret world government, reptiloids, a Masonic conspiracy, ‘the protocols of the elders of Zion,’ the Dulles Plan, and Otto von Bismarck’s efforts” to set Ukrainians and Belarusians against Russia in order to weaken it.

For the professional Putinist, “conspiracies explain everything from flooding in Russian cities to bad harvests.” And if you cast doubt on this, you are either a “useful idiot” of the West or in fact an agent working against Russia, Mirovich says.

Putinists are also committed imperialists. They’d like to conquer the entire world or at least Europe to the Atlantic and are constrained from doing so only by the aggressive forces of NATO. At the very least, they want to retake all the territory of the former Soviet space, the commentator continues.

And fourth, the professional Putinists deify their leader, a personality cult similar to that under Stalin but subtly different. Now, the professional Putinists feel themselves part of the cult rather than living under it, acknowledging that their leader has lied and then changed his line and that they loyal as they are have done the same thing.

All this would be funny, Mironov says, were it not so sad and bitter. Russia had a chance at the end of the 1990s to move in another direction, toward “demilitarization, humanization, a normal educational system and on the whole a normal life.”  But it went off in another direction, a detour that is costing it enormously but that will not continue forever.

“In the contemporary world,” he continues, “there is no other path of normal development than democracy.” It is simply that some countries pass move toward this much later than the rest. At some point Russia will return to this path. But what is unfortunate is that whole generations will be lost until it does.”

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