Thursday, July 22, 2021

Shoygu’s Making Putin Essay Required Reading for Military a Turning Point in Russian Political System, Martynov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 16 – Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu’s order for all soldiers and sailors to read Vladimir Putin’s essay on Russian and Ukrainian relations, an order that came almost immediately after the article appeared, is not just a sign of the article’s importance but represents a turning point in a country without an official ideology, Kirill Martynov says.

            Obviously, the political editor of Novaya gazeta, says, Putin’s article is about national security and so people in uniform should be familiar with it; but making it required reading raises the possibility that soon others in Russia will also be required to read Putin’s pronouncements on a regular basis (

            “If reading Putin’s article is mandatory in the military, he suggests, “then why is it not required in schools in general or in the Higher School of Economics in particular? Perhaps traitors have somehow wormed their way into the Ministry of Education?” That is something the powers that be will certainly want to look into.

            In Soviet times, one has the feeling that “there was a slight gap between the speech of a leader and its being cast in granite” as something everyone must know.” The technology available then, newspapers, radio and party agitators and propagandists, was too slow “to keep up with the speed of the leader’s eloquence.”

            Now, however, things have changed: A speech that appears on the Kremlin website in the evening can be made required reading in the political classes of the military.  That makes the leader’s speeches an ideology but an ever changing one as well, something that soldiers and sailors now and the rest of the population soon will be expected to keep up with.

            Insistence on reading leader’s speeches in Soviet times ultimately alienated the population from the regime. It will only be a matter of time before the same process occurs in Russia today.

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