Monday, February 19, 2024

Like Hitler Before Him, Putin has Had to Go to War to Try to Save His Regime -- but He Won’t Succeed, El Murid Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 15 – There are ever increasing signs of problems in all sectors of Russian life, Anatoly Nesmiyan who blogs under the screen name El Murid says. Some of these are the product of media outlets seeking attention; but some reflect an underlying reality that Russians living under pressure now want to know about.           

            These disasters, he says, are typically treated in isolation from one another; but considered together, they highlight a fundamental reality of the Russian political system and even explain why Putin is engaged in his war in Ukraine ( reposted at

            Putin’s use of terror to construct his desired anti-utopia has disordered many of the key components of Russian society, and he has responded in two ways: by applying additional terror to overcome the problems of an urban society by driving it back to an archaic rural one and then by going to war.

            According to El Murid, the Kremlin is “objectively interested in degrading society and ‘resetting’ it to the traditional phase of development because the regime itself has degraded to the point that it is no longer capable of managing an urban industrial society. But Putin can go only so far in that direction and so has chosen war as a means of keeping society under control.

            That is exactly the same strategy that Hitler chose when the Nazi leader faced challenges from below that he could not solve simply by applying more terror. The fuehrer viewed the acquisition of Lebensraum abroad as a means to prevent German society from eventually being “torn apart” by the tensions his own policies were creating.

            The Putin regime has evolved in the same way: it has used terror domestically only to discover the limits of that option and then chosen to go to war in order to keep people in line. In short, the blogger says, war has become a survival strategy for the regime, one that it could not and cannot turn away from without committing suicide.

            But as the reports of ever-growing problems in ever-more-widespread aspects of Russian life show, the war has not stopped “the degradation of society” that terror has set in motion. The war has slowed the erosion of regime control, however, because the more archaic society becomes, the less of an immediate challenge it will pose to the regime.

            However, because the regime needs more modern forms of social organization to support its military efforts, it will face challenges from that part of the society it has not driven into an archaic state; and because its military actions will be opposed by others, the Kremlin will ultimately face defeat perhaps very quickly or perhaps only in the longer term.

            Consequently, sooner or later, the strategy Putin has adopted to save himself will fail, El Murid says. But the blogger's insight is important because it means that if Putin engineers something he can call a victory in Ukraine, he will not stop, not because of some personal quirk but because he, like Hitler, can't survive if real peace were to break out. 

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