Putin- why the love?

Image: World Economic Forum. Sebastian Derungs

Image: World Economic Forum. Sebastian Derungs

Understandably, perhaps, for many of us living in the West, seeing the approval ratings that Putin receives in polls can be quite a shock. How can it possibly be the case that almost 9 out of every 10 Russians polled possibly support him? Russia is facing increasing sanctions from the West for its involvement in the Ukraine conflict, is facing accusations that it supplied the weapons to down the MH17 Air Malaysia flight over the conflict zone. Worse still, the Russian record for human rights abuses and the suppression of free speech could not get much worse. So, why on earth is Putin seeing not only consistently high, but consistently increasing support from the citizens of Russia?

To answer that question, you have to look throughout the entirety of Putin’s time in power. When he was first elected back in 2000, in the wake of Yeltsin’s surprise resignation, Putin was seen by the Western leaders as being likely to follow in his footsteps, and prove himself a failure. Unfortunately, time and again, he has proven himself to be a shrewd judge of the public, knowing how to build support.

Right from the start, Putin was clear in his aims. Being dismissed as a failure from the beginning by the West allowed him free reign to do as he pleased, and more importantly, begin to shape his future government through influencing the media. He spoke of the dismissal of Russia by the West, and a need for the Russian people to become great and unified once again. It is his dream to rebuild Russia into the nation of the Russian people, and he is willing to do whatever he believes necessary to achieve this. It is a dream shared by the Russian people.

We’ve seen it in his treatment of various neighbouring nations. Back in 2008, he invaded Georgia. His approval rating skyrocketed to a then all-time high. He came to power during the Second Chechen War, now continuing to support a pro-Russian regime in the face of an insurgency. Now he has annexed Crimea, supported the Donetsk People’s Republic, and seized a strategic tract of land from Georgia.

And, in doing so, Putin has shown he can stand up to the West. In being faced with sanctions for his actions in the Crimea and Ukraine, Putin has shown he is serious. In seizing land to reunite the Russian people, he has shown that not only is he serious, but he is actively working to achieve reunification and a return to greatness, and for that, the Russian people adore him.

Their Russia is no longer an underdeveloped backwater. People always remember their childhood favourably. Most of those in power today were brought up in the Soviet Union, given the fodder of the glories of the war in Afghanistan, and being warned of the perils of the untrustworthy West. Should we really be surprised, having shown the Russian people that the West stands against them, that they support a man who they see as standing up to NATO aggression?

Putin carefully sweeps the human rights abuses under the carpet, using a deeply conservative social agenda and a strong control of the media to limit the power of any political opposition. He has utilised the upsurge in religious belief that followed the fall of the Soviet Union as a wave to ride upon, turning the Russian people against those who make easy targets. We see this in his attacks on the LGBT* community, in his attacks on minority populations, such as Jews and Muslims. And, for all the barbarism he shows, his intelligence is clear. He has made the Russian people love him, and it’s absolutely terrifying.

 

22 comments

  1. Another western propaganda piece with “grand” accusations and no facts to back any of it up. Barbarism? Attacks on the LGBT community? Attacks on Jews and Muslims??? Do your research…starting with the fact that Putin was not president during the Russo-Georgian war, Medvedev was!!! LOL

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  2. At least I know someone has bothered to read this now :P Attacks on the LGBTQ have been shown in his anti-Gay propaganda law. Attacks on Jews and Muslims have increased during the past decade, granted this has been the case in many Western nations as well, but it is far more pronounced in Russia. Putin may not have been President, but he was Prime Minister. He has been one or the other since 2001. And, not to put too fine a point on it, the invasion of Georgia was sanctioned by Putin, even if another man was officially the President. Barbarism in his treatment of others who are not ethnic Russians. Putin himself may not personally conduct acts, in that he doesn’t pick up a gun and fight alongside Russian troops in the Ukraine, or personally seize the land in Georgia last month, but he condones these things.

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    • I thiiiiiink you might have run across this bunch (unless that’s giving them too much credit)
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_brigades
      Good article

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      • It’s so comfortable to think so, isn’t it? The reality is that western media are translated to russian and advertised at russian sites (with a link to the original, of course), so everyone has an opportunity to read and comment. Do you have sites that translate russian media? Of course not. And we have a lot of such sites – inosmi, inopressa, inotv etc Don’t stay brainwashed, try to see another side of the coin, otherwise it may be false.

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    • 17 Aug ’15 at 10:33 pm

      A Gentleman About Town

      Gay sex is legal in Russia. Homosexuality is not classified as a mental illness in Russia. Transgender people can legally change their gender in Russia. The anti-gay law criminalizes open expressions of support for gay rights in the presence of minors. A similar law (Section 28) was passed in the UK in the 1980s, although it admittedly wasn’t quite as restrictive, and the general population was less anti-gay at the time. Don’t get me wrong, the LGBT rights situation in Russia is awful, and I wouldn’t want to live there as an LGBT person. But it’s a far cry from the situation in some of our Muslim ally countries like Pakistan, where you can be imprisoned, or Saudi Arabia, where you can be executed for homosexual activity.

      I agree with you that it’s laughable to think Putin wasn’t the de facto ruler of the country during Medvedev’s term as President.

      South Ossetia has been de facto independent from Georgia since 1990. Its population, who are ethnically distinct from Georgians, largely support independence. The Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 was an invasion of South Ossetia, specifically, and it followed an attempt by Georgia to reassert control over this de facto independent territory after Ossetian separatists started shelling nearby Georgian villages.

      Putin isn’t really a hardline Russian ethnic nationalist. Some of the harshest anti-Putin critics in Russia are people who think he’s too soft on Chechen immigrants in ethnic Russian areas. He’s certainly nationalistic in the civic sense.

      It’s easy to understand why Russians are so keen on Putin IMO. Under his rule, the lives of ordinary Russians have simply gotten a lot better in material terms. And he has reasserted Russia’s independence from the West, which is important to Russians as it is for the British or the French. The contrast with the absurdist dystopian parody of a regime that was Yeltin’s Russia also helps.

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  3. Sam Lees If You have diarrhea ,too, Putin is to blame?:)

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  4. Several amendments.
    1. In 2008, Georgia, under the command of the United States staged a fascist genocide of the Ossetian people. Russia saved the Ossetians from total destruction because Americans and Russia received the status of aggressor from the American Nazi.
    2. In 2014, the US staged a coup in Ukraine and brought to power by the Nazis for the purpose of total destruction of the indigenous people of Ukraine. That part of the indigenous population, which took up arms to defend themselves from the American genocide, was named separatists and Russian occupying forces (including the elderly, women and children).

    Considering the fact that even from the 5th century Russian state was called “country towns” and had the development of trade, culture and baths. What it was not in Europe, where until the 17th century all Europeans bathed in their own shit, went dirty and unwashed, breeding fleas and rats in their wigs. Until the 13th century of Russia had the most powerful army in Europe and most developed trade. From this I can conclude that the whole of European civilization – a civilization of barbarians, which is still a long way off from the Russian civilization. All European architecture and culture is based solely on the culture of ancient Rome. At that time, as the culture of the Russian people is based on their identity, which is supplemented by the Byzantine culture.

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  5. If you want to know why Putin is popular in Russia don’t bother reading bs from the likes of this propagandist, ask Russian people who support him and they will tell you how much good Putin has done for Russia.

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  6. There is a saying like “if you’re lazy, dumb and lame – that means Putin is to blame”. No matter, how you blame him, Putin will succeed, because everyone got tired of your propaganda and hypocrisy. The West disgraced its own values.

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  7. Omg Rly? Why? Because Thanks to Putin..Russia is superpower again, Russia – top warpower in the world( fas org status), 5th largest economy, top4 science and education( MSU is 25th university in world ranking) and there are more of productive ones of them as well, top4 country by amount of $billionaires(Forbes), leading space programme(with a history of 90% of all first-discoveries in space, incl. first man, space station, launch, moon module e.t.c), and of course, quality of life 30th place in rankings against 68th in 2000.
    You, western people will never be able to understand this, we lived in pure chaos in 90’s..like i was born in 93 but i was born in pretty good awesome family that i love more than anything in this wrold, so i never felt that way..chaotic..pretty much by myself at home, but did outdoors…on the streets. I saw and totally understood..the situation around me, those streets with poor people, disasters that had been shown everyday on news.. and the pure..anarchic chaos…But that’s the cost for being truly independent and free. Putin made that possible with his 2000-2010 program. Our Mass-media is the most censorship free in the world, lots of opposition groups everywhere, in the internet, on TV e.t.c, they can say whatever they want, wherever they want..no1 will ever cut or censor their political views…ever. Check Navaly, his group..RPR-PARNAS, Echo of Moscow and other. And what’s with that in am? Heard upcoming “story”.. i guess about 8-9 months ago..One guy. in the US, created a profile on facebook, when he had explained his “warm” feelings about Obama as the president, and he basically called for Obama’s death, of course not serious..it’s just a regular jackass, if you look up our social networks..like vk.com, you’ll find out tons of hatred against our precious president, but those people will never charged for that, so what’s with that obama-hater? He is sentenced in prison..So we’re fine, we’re leading on the world stage so far with US and China..we’re good, stop hating guys.

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    • Exactly )) It’s funny to read all these western media. The more they lie – the more we understand the situation. They don’t read russian media and don’t even try to understand our position while we read western media. Their media are even translated to Russian, so all people have so much fun )

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  8. 31 Jul ’15 at 9:28 am

    Richard Cheeseman

    The really terrifying thing is the terrifying stupidity and shameless contempt for the truth of Western hate and fear propaganda against Russia and particularly of the relentless demonisation campaign against the person of the Russian President.

    That stupidity and dishonesty is exemplified by the ignorantly bigoted disinformation piece above which contains the little gem of mendacity: “Back in 2008, [Putin] invaded Georgia.”

    The terrifying thing about this torrent of hate and lies in servile media is that it’s nothing new – disinformation propaganda and demonisation of the leaders of targeted governments have always been absolutely standard procedure before the launch of any of the recurrent wars of aggression staged by the hyper-militarised and lawlessly violent US rogue empire (usually along with its European satellites like the UK).

    And what makes THAT especially terrifying is that Russia is not Libya or Iraq, states targeted by imperialism for forced regime change that could be attacked precisely because they did NOT have weapons of mass destruction with which to defend themselves.

    If the imperialists launch a war against Russia all life on Earth will be put at grave risk. And the media promoters of hatred and ignorance will have their share of responsibility for the disaster.

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  9. Hopeless bullshit built on racist assumptions that everything is evil in our country. Russia can only spit on that kind of intertnet skunks.

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  10. Do not let out children at night on street. Putin eats children. He loves children.

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  11. 7 Aug ’15 at 4:39 pm

    Confused Pro-Putin Shill

    plane shoot self down over ukraina putin desperate try to save why west see him as bad is not hees fault georgian army in 2008 decide to mass suicide he really am jesus reincarnate an& we shold love him

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  12. 17 Aug ’15 at 9:31 pm

    A Gentleman About Town

    https://newleftreview.org/II/94/perry-anderson-incommensurate-russia

    Perry Anderson’s recent article on modern Russia is long, but well worth reading if you want to understand Putin. If you don’t read the full article, at least read this paragraph:

    “Once Poroshenko was installed in Kiev, a military offensive was launched against the Donbas rebels, labelled terrorists for purposes of Western support. Under the guidance of US military and intelligence emissaries, the Ukrainian army and paramilitaries, backed by heavy artillery, advanced against ragtag irregulars, buffed up by weapons and warriors dispatched across the border from Russia, until stand-off ensued. But before this low-level civil war ground to a halt, a Russian-supplied missile in the hands of the irregulars had shot down a civilian airliner flying over the conflict zone. Denouncing this ‘unspeakable outrage’, Obama called the West to joint action against Russia. Economic sanctions targeting its financial and defence sectors were intensified. That the United States had itself shot down a civilian airliner, with a virtually identical toll of deaths, without ever so much as apologizing for a virtually identical blunder, was naturally in a different sense unspeakable—the airline was Iranian, the captain of the Vincennes acted in good faith, so why should anyone in the ‘international community’ remember, let alone mention it? So too was the annexation of the Crimea unheard of: why should anyone have heard of the seizures of East Jerusalem, North Cyprus, Western Sahara, or East Timor, conducted without reproof by friendly governments fêted in Washington? [29] What matter if in all these cases, annexation crushed the self-determination of the inhabitants in blood, rather than reflecting it without loss of life? Such considerations are beside the point, as if the power that administers international law could be subject to it.”

    Russia’s interests are in conflict with the West’s. Naturally, the West has to defend its interests. But intelligent people should realize that this is not a conflict where one side has the moral high ground.

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  13. She was also voted Russia s most beautiful woman by a magazine and, after her sports career ended, became an MP in Putin s United Russia party. Shortly after Putin announced his divorce, Miss Kabayeva triggered speculation by announcing she had met a man whom I love very much .

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    • Are u kidding? She was and still is our wonderful Olympic champion and try not to listen to all this junk. It’s non of your business anyway. May be it’s better to discuss morality of Mr. Cameron?

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