Staunton, November 24 – Vladimir Putin retains his supporters because the latter do not care whether he keeps his promises, sacrifices their interests, or lies to them, Arkady Osipov says, because his supporters behave in the same way and thus see in the Kremlin leader a mirror of themselves.
On the Publizist portal, the Russian blogger says that for such people, there is no need for Putin to keep his promises. For them, it is enough that he makes them. They are pleased by the description he offers of a better future even if in their heart of hearts they know that even he will never produce it (publizist.ru/blogs/110423/28099/-).
“Putin and his supporters have found one another,” Osipov continues. “The former doesn’t intend to fulfill his promises, and the latter doesn’t expect their fulfilment. They thus satisfy one another and are happy.” His supporters like “that mirage and that illusion” which he traffics in, “illusions relative to the present and future.”
“They are pleased that Russia in Putin’s speeches is great and strong, that it is respected by everyone in the world, and that foreign enemies (especially the Americans) fear it and come up with all sorts of insidious plans. But their plans are not fated to succeed because that is what Putin says. They are going to HELL, while Russians are going to PARADISE.”
Putin’s supporters don’t compare what Putin says with what is. They have no chance because they are told 24/7 how wonderful things are in his Russia and how bad they are everywhere else, the Russian blogger continues. They are satisfied with what they are being given.
His people are prepared to sacrifice everything if need be, except for one thing: “they are not prepared to turn away from Putin’s talking” because his babbling “has become for them a very significant part of life and to a certain extent even the meaning of their existence, a kind of narcotic.
They have lived with lies so long that “they can’t imagine how they would live without them. And they do not want to imagine that possibility.” Putin’s words have become “part of their lives and part of their picture of the world.” If Putin were suddenly to disappear, they would not know what to do.
“Putin’s supporters sincerely suppose that Putin and his courtiers speak the truth and that the world in fact is just like it is described on the First and Second channels; but unconsciously, they all the same feel that this is not entirely so and that much is being prettified” for their benefit.
This “subconscious fear” is all the stronger for being subconscious, Osipov says. “Therefore, Putin’s supporters won’t accept any facts or argument about his policies however strong these arguments may be.” Indeed, the more powerful these arguments are, the more Putin’s supporters cling to him. They cannot do otherwise lest they lose their own core.
According to Osipov, “Putin’s supporters are egoists who spit on absolutely everything that is not directly connected with their current lives in the most immediate way. And in this they also are very similar to Putin himself.” They don’t connect the dots, they don’t compare the past with the present, and they don’t think about the future other than as he says it will be.
“At the subconscious level, they are even afraid that if [Putin] leaves the scene, the myth to which they are so accustomed will disappear and reveal a horrible picture of reality for which they are completely unprepared.” This is “partially” the result of propaganda, he acknowledges, but “only partially.”
“Putin’s supporters are zombified in the first instance because they themselves want to be. They themselves want that they will be fed with promises and told stories. [They] are people who do not want to do anything for the development of the country but do want to sit at the trough and listen about how the country is miraculously developing.”
And that is just the message Putin is prepared to give them. His supporters are thus “deceived because they want to be deceived.” That is what they have in common, and that is why so many of them will not turn on him regardless of what he does.
In this, of course, although Osipov does not say so, Putin and his supporters have much in common with populist leaders and their followers elsewhere; and thus it is something that those who oppose what these leaders are doing must take into consideration as they try to figure out how to take their countries back and in another direction.
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