Monday, March 18, 2019

Putinist ‘Ultras’ Upset with Putin Because His Actions Don’t Match His Words, Davydov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 18 – Some of the Russian activists most committed to Vladimir Putin’s program, people like Sergey Udaltsov, Vsevolod Chaplin, and Igor Strelkov, are now coming out against him because the Kremlin leader’s policies have not matched his rhetoric in which they had passionately believed, Ivan Davydov says.

            Such people are extremely varied in all respects except one, the Moscow commentator says, and that may seem “paradoxical: all of them are ultra-Putinists.” In fact, they are Putinists to a much greater degree than President Putin and the more successful comrades in arms of President Putin” (

                These people and others like them do not understand that “the powers that be have many slogans but only one idea – self-preservation. And for its realization, no ideas are needed.” Instead, what is required is the ability “to forget what was said yesterday or even a hour before” and be ready to take an entirely new position.

            That makes the Putin regime extremely inconsistent: it sounds like it is ready to engage in Stalinist repressions but doesn’t in fact impose them in as thoroughgoing manner as its words suggest. And as a result, the Putinist “ultras” are disappointed: they want the regime to live up to its words and be consistent.

Were the powers that be to do so, Davydov suggests, it would please these Putinists, who are more Orthodox than the Patriarch; but it would undermine the regime which survives only by not being consistent and only by constantly changing directions.  As a, Putin risks losing these Putinists; but at the same time, the Kremlin leader knows they have nowhere else result to go.

But this situation shows something even more important, the commentator argues. Those in power “don’t need ideological supporters. In recent years, nationalists, then imperialists, then people calling for the revival of Stalin’s USSR have been disappointed” when they found out that the regime isn’t really on their side.

Some have suffered in silence and a few have even ended up behind bars because such people have now been able to recognize the obvious: the Putin regime is concerned only with self-preservation and will use any slogan only to the extent and for as long as it appears to contribute to that outcome.

As a result, the Putin regime doesn’t need Putinists who remember everything the Kremlin leader has said and even promised. It needs people who are intellectually, politically and morally adept at changing their positions instantly whenever the leader changes his – and quickly forgetting that he ever took a different position at all. 

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