Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Putin’s Cult of Masculinity Adds to National Predisposition toward Aggression and Re-Enforces Gender Gap in Life Expectancy, Russian Psychologists Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 12 – Vladimir Putin has promoted a cult of masculinity since the beginning of his time in power, predisposing Russians to aggression both at home and abroad because in this cult, “aggression is the only legitimate emotion” “real men” are allowed to express, Russian psychologists and psychotherapists say.

            That cult has helped the Kremlin mobilize Russians to fight in Ukraine but it has other negative influences as well, including keeping men from admitting weakness, getting the psychological help they need and thus maintaining or even exacerbating Russia’s huge gap in life expectancy between men and women (

            And that in turn means that in addition to the losses among men at the front, Putin’s policies are leading to earlier deaths among Russian men at home and thus pushing Russia into ever greater demographic decline, exactly the opposite of the direction the Kremlin leader regularly insists is the goal of his policies.

            According to psychologist Sofya Goldman, “men live on average five years less than women do, but this Russia this gap is twice as large,” a reflection of a culture which discourages men from seeking help with their problems, encourages them to choose dangerous professions and to take risks, and fosters support for those promoting aggression.

            Psychologist Vlad Krivoshchekov agrees and points to the messages coming out of the Kremlin and the way in which they are institutionalized in early childhood education so that Russians grow up with these values and thus are likely to follow them not just now in support of Putin but long into the future.

           And while this article doesn't address this point, it may also explain why men who aspire to be "alpha dogs" in their own societies view Putin and his toxic masculinity so favorably.  


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