Sunday, October 15, 2017

Putin has Promoted Russians’ Readiness to Shift Instantly from One Position to Another, Kirillova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 15 – “The single real consequences of the Putin regime” is the promotion in the population not so much of overwhelming support for an imperial ideology but rather for the kind of baseness and cynicism that allows them to “change their values, politics and even facts” overnight as the Kremlin line changes.

            “To correct this part of the [Russian] mentality,” one the reflects an increasingly short-term memory and the willingness to go along with anything the supreme leader calls for, however different it may be from today from what it was yesterday, will be a far more difficult task than rooting out any particular ideology (

            Many were surprised by how quickly Russians changed their view of Ukraine from a “fraternal people” to “a hostile state” in the space of a few days, she writes. But “there was nothing surprising in this” for anyone who remembered the numerous cases when the Kremlin changed course on Lukashenka and other issues.

            “The memory of the majority of consumers of television propaganda is surprisingly short,” Kirillova says. Still worse, it is one in which the recipients of that propaganda are quite happy to keep in their heads completely contradictory ideas and facts, thus opening the way for them to change their position when that is required.

            Indeed, today, the US-based Russian analyst argues, one can say that “’the Putin majority’ overwhelmingly consists of conformists but not of convinced imperialists” and that “these conformists as the last decade has shown can easily change one reality for another” on demand.

            Some may view this as something positive, as opening the possibility for a radical break with the authoritarianism and imperialism that have characterized Putin’s last term. Indeed, such a break may be possible – and could even be led by him. But the habits of the mass population he has inculcated will be far harder to change.

            And consequently, any positive shift, one that many in both Russia and the West will be quite ready to grasp onto as an indication of a fundamental change in direction, is unlikely to last because it will have not deeper roots than whatever Russian television has planted in the last news cycle. 

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