“Nobody faces the illimitable with impunity”
Far too much has been written about Vladimir Putin. His artificially lionized personality has become a grotesque covered with a touch of pompous monumentality. Demonized by the Kremlin Court’s camarilla, ornamented carefully in the news space by the media servants, decorated in numerous books by household jinglers, Putin’s image has long moved into the virtual space. For the uninitiated world, he is a treacherous shaman, the one who is shaking the foundations; for thoughtful people he is a vaudeville actor pretending to be a ‘hard-boiled’ statesman. The gap between the reality and the illusory image demonstrated to the public is stunning, and the degree of personality split is unprecedented. The potential effect of his destructive behavior will be of enormous proportions.
A modern hero of information technology, he has become a big thorn for the whole civilized world.
Awakening of demons
Biographers who, with a magnifying glass, explored the dark corners of the Putin’s past, say he has had many thrills in his life, so a thirst for revenge has harbored in his heart from childhood up. Bright, self-fulfilled personalities make him sick, sometimes even causing fits of anger which he carefully keeps under control. That’s where the root cause of harassment of the truly talented Andrei Makarevich lies. The same is also true for Mikhail Khodorkovsky – an outstanding personality that distinguishes favorably from that of Putin — an uncharismatic, unemotional and always posing leader. The surviving fragments of the Soviet calendar testify that Putin had never been a leader among his fellow teens, and the favor of beautiful ladies was unknown to him. One can find pictures where Putin, then an awkward, angular youth, is invariably a little bit away from the focus – a hidden introvert who early became accustomed to dwelling on the sidelines. This certainly tormented him, making him rush for comfort in the world of judo, and, later – in the work of a secret KGB missionary. When interviewed in 2000, former Aeroflot hostess Lyudmila Putin said that, when she first met Vladimir, he was very modestly, even poorly dressed, and looked very unprepossessing: “I wouldn’t have paid any attention to him on the street”. These words of his ex-wife are essentially a sentence from all the women. According to Irene Pietsch, a German friend of Madame Putin, who has written an account of their conversations, Lyudmila described him as a “vampire who sucked the juices out of me”. This information, even if it’s a little bit distorted, well reflects the behavioral responses of Putin now as head of state.
A perverted, destructive perception of the world began to develop with Putin in his childhood and young adult years, when he experienced serious problems socializing with peers, and this vision became solidified after he graduated from the KGB Andropov Institute (a Soviet institute for training recruits to espionage). Those who are well aware of the career of the leader of the new, aggressive Russia, point to a pretty interesting fact: Putin was denied job at the powerful First Chief Directorate of the KGB, and, instead, given a transfer to a lower-ranked position at Leningrad KGB office. Anyway, social awkwardness overshadowed the career of the now president. The inferiority complex haunted him everywhere he went. Putin’s counterpart Barack Obama involuntarily noticed some echoes of that form of communication with the world, when he, surprisingly, said of the Russian leader: “He’s got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom”. One can imagine what storm of anger and hatred this joke caused with the former secret agent who sees himself secretary general of the restored empire.
Social awkwardness and social exclusion were common to many destructive dictators, including Hitler and Stalin. According to Joachim Fest, social contempt was for Hitler far more painful than social poverty, and when he fell into despair, he suffered not as much from a lack of order in this world, but more from the insufficient role that destiny assigned to him. In other words, for personalities of this kind, unfulfilled ambitions are always an irresistible stimulus.
Interestingly, it is also suggested by many doctors that Putin’s destructiveness has root in his difficult childhood. For example, a therapist at the Swiss Federation of Psychologists (FSP), an expert in forensic psychology, Doctor of Psychology Philip Jaffé made it clear in September 2014 that “Putin experienced a serious trauma as a child, and some resulting emotions can now suddenly appear”. For example, according to the expert, “Putin symbolizes (almost to the point of a caricature) an alpha male”. In this case, Jaffé, assuming that Putin struggles with feelings of inferiority, added to his analysis that “he is a socially unadapted (awkward) personality; he has problems developing relationships, searching for friends etc”.
In respect of the shaping of Putin’s view of the world, it is impossible to miss a very significant fact. Specifically, Vladimir was the third son in the family; his two elder brothers died before he was born. Here, again, analogies suggest themselves. Adolf Hitler was the fourth child in the family; the first three children died before any of them had reached the age of three; of the two more children born after Adolf’s birth, only one sister lived into old age. Joseph Dzhugashvili also was the fourth child; none of the three children born before him survived. This nuance of the birth usually evokes an idea of “God’s chosen people”.
But in the end, it’s not due to being a creative personality that Putin earned his success, but because he just happened to be at hand – an eager beaver, convenient and predictable, a militarily disciplined ‘cog in the machine’. Nobody knew of him before his 40s. Moreover, facts of his biography indirectly suggest that, by that age, he began to be disappointed with his career; firstly, he refused to go to work to the central office of the Foreign Intelligence Service, then transitioned to work at St. Petersburg city hall, and eventually submitted a letter of resignation. And it was only with personal patronage of Mayor Sobchak that Putin’s ascend up the carrier ladder began to gain momentum (albeit not without scandals). After Sobchak failed to win mayoral elections, Putin’s future, again, became uncertain for some time when he was 44. It is only a chain of coincidences that brought the hero of this story into relatively low-profile position of a deputy chief of directorate for presidential affairs. Just three years passed and he became the successor of the head of state. Here, again, analogies can be found. Erich Fromm wrote about Hitler that he was kind of climbing up the ladder of failures; a careless student who was expelled from high school, a failed entrant, an outcast excommunicated as member of his form, a failed artist – each failure wounded his narcissism deeper and deeper, humiliated him, and each failure made him immerse deeper into his world of fantasy. Much as Hitler spent years wandering Vienna in search of life’s goal, Putin carried cases of his boss Sobchak, angered at life and nurturing plans of rising to power.
Inability to empathize with others and total emotional coldness have predetermined Putin’s estrangement and his lack of attachment to anybody – an explanation of why he easily sends masses of people to war, manipulates the fates of thousands of people without giving much thought to life and death. During a visit to a middle school in Kurgan region on 1 September 2013, Putin left both the students and lecturers astonished when he drew the backside of a cat on a white digital board, telling students that it was something to remember his visit. The unusual angle of the cat drawn by Putin was immediately interpreted by psychologists as revealing his misanthropy and detachment from someone else’s problems. History knows many dictators who did not hesitate to drown whole peoples in blood just for the sake of their own megaprojects. Detachment from human problems was most apparent with dictators such as Napoleon, Stalin and Hitler. Professor A.G. Gofman, a researcher of Stalin’s personality, was shocked at finding how cool the tyrant was to his own children and grandchildren. Hitler’s introversion was legendary. Mistreated as child by his stepfather, Saddam Hussein developed an anger that, in adulthood, eventually grew into uncompromising hostility to all others and an irresistible thirst for revenge. Escape from reality into a world of fantasy and stereotypes is what makes the above mentioned men, including the sitting master of the Kremlin, alike. By 2015 Putin, imprisoned in his individual microcosm, had become very much like the Roman princeps Tiberius at the time when he escaped to the island of Capri. What makes them in common are suspicion toward the surrounding world, exacerbation and unpredictability.
Dictators tend to have a relatively low level of general culture. As a matter of fact, Putin is sorely lacking in the depth of knowledge. Particularly he is clearly not able to embrace and understand the ideologies of true heroes of the twentieth century and those of the current time, too. Albert Schweitzer, Erich Fromm, Viktor Frankl, Rollo May – historical figures of this kind are infinitely far away from him, and spiritual leaders are incomprehensible. His compatriots such as Andrei Sakharov or Joseph Brodsky are terra incognita for him. His countryman and a Soviet outcast, Sakharov hated and condemned “substantiated denunciations”, while for the former Leningrad KGB officer, denunciations amounted to the sense and richness of life. Ivan the Terrible and Josef Stalin are much closer to him. The former boiled people alive in iron pots, while the latter killed millions in an innovative network of extermination camps. What made Vladimir Putin choose those misanthropes to be his heroes and new idols for the Russian audience? (Here it is pertinent to recall that the Russians, in a recent nationwide poll, put Stalin at the top of the list of the greatest Russians ever). For one thing, they were uncharismatic personalities, just like Putin is. Those men are for Putin kind of proof that the greatest people are not necessarily the ones that are the greatest personalities. Secondly, they are all forgers who intimidated the people who surrounded them, and exported their fear further to the rest of the world. Like Putin, those men were not warriors or strategists; Ivan the Terrible won not a single battle, while Stalin was so broken down after the start of the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 that he did not regain his composure and make his first radio broadcast to a stunned nation until 3 July. It’s no coincidence that one of the most expert biographers of Stalin, Robert Tucker regarded him as a wrecker and saboteur, a true enemy of the people. Meanwhile, Putin perceives the role of the tyrant in a somewhat different light. Experts at the Carnegie Endowment, in a 2013 research, found out that “Putin’s Kremlin has found the image of Stalin useful in his effort to solidify his authority”. In this context, Putin’s statement that the “collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” seems pretty sensible. However, for an experienced KGB man like Putin, this idea is just a platform for a plan of personal fulfillment – a plan that legitimizes destruction and extermination of people, a plan that is being implemented in stages, each growing in the scope as the world lumps one bloody tragedy after another: Chechnya, Georgia, Crimea and now Donbass …. This list will certainly go on. To understand why one should make an insight into how this deformed personality was being shaped.
Putin has had persistent thirst for recognition since his childhood. This idea became the dominant factor in his life-organization where the focus of attention is invariably concentrated on his own self. For the sake of recognition, people of this kind are ready for anything ranging from minor fraud to enormous destruction. Putin is said to have plagiarized 16 pages of his PhD dissertation. However, this was the least serious of his misdemeanors. Hitler, for instance, wore an Iron Cross first class on his breast, which, as an investigation revealed, he was never awarded. The founder of the Third Reich was coaching himself using a method referred to by researchers as “education by quotes”; by the same token, Putin is lapping up selected dubious historical treatises. Stalin did not serve a day in the military because of a messed up hand, but had no scruple to make himself a generalissimo. Furthermore, Stalin plagiarized almost the full text of his brochure “Foundations of Leninism” (where he for the first time presented himself as the first successor of Lenin) from a work by F. Ksenofontov, whom he eventually eliminated. All the dictators seek to be perceived as great reformers and great thinkers. Saddam Hussein, for instance, had his genealogy fabricated to claim direct descent from Imam Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and he also did his own interpretation of the Koran. In the same vein, the hero of our story — “a man with a troubled past,” a Kremlin’s agent — surrounded himself with perfectly elaborated legends. But these were all just minor details that eventually grew into great issues.
Thirst for recognition can become a potentially dangerous stimulus. For example, Saddam Hussein, for the sake of satisfying his desire of greatness, annexed Kuwait and unleashed an eight-year war with Iran, plunging the country into ruin and starvation. Exactly the same motivation underlies Putin’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, more specifically, the desire to demonstrate his power for the whole world to see, the power which, in fact, is non-existent. There is no doubt he would certainly have unleashed a linear fratricidal war, but did not do so out of fear that the rest of the world would unite to sweep his regime aside. Those men, who moved through life effectively without being constrained by anything at all, have eliminated millions. Stalin and Hitler are certainly at the top of this list. But what guarantee exists that this list will not be updated by Putin?
Conscience split and resulting dominance of illusion over reality
Putin probably feels himself a Titan when he passes through the helpfully opened huge, massive door to his presidential office.
It is noteworthy that the Russian president has been repeatedly accused of being acquisitive. He is particularly famous for his fondness of luxury Swiss watches (according to an investigation conducted by Russian anti-Kremlin parties in 2012, the President Putin’s ultra-expensive wristwatch collection is worth EUR 550,000). Moreover, malicious gossip has it that he owns 23 palaces and USD 40B worth of personal wealth. It is worth noting that Putin is said to be concerned most about attaining tangible symbols of power or their equivalents. When he, for the sake of popularity, makes flirtation with the Church, annexes Crimea or ‘flies with cranes’, his motivation emerges even more clearly than in his proud demonstration of chronometers, revealing not so much his desire to stake out a place in history, but to make believe that he is approximating the divine and mystical, something incomprehensible for ‘ordinary people’. Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi – pronounced Putin (albeit in his Russian mother tongue) with a touch of sacracy at the 2014 meeting of the Valdai Club. In a carefully worded manner, and ‘jumping over’ his own doubts, he is convincing his audience that he is the Number One, while well knowing in his heart that he is only the Number Two. So he, on second thoughts, begins telling stories about the bear and the ‘master of the taiga’. In a language of self-perception, a wristwatch epitomizes time control and a graceful fixation of a touch to the eternal, just like numerous palaces epitomize space control. That is why Putin feels almost physical pain whenever he watches Lenin’s monuments falling down, and he will let the “stuffed corpse” remain in its mausoleum indefinitely. In Putin’s faith in artifacts, there is as much of incurable puerilism as there is in caligulas’ or neros’ who left behind countless adulterations of marble. His perception of reality is somewhere on the level in between petty-bourgeois narrow-minded worldview of Khrushchev and a bulldog’s mentality of Andropov. In this regard, Putin is not too much dissimilar in terms of being outdated, intellectually lightweight, conservative and hostile to the whole surrounding world. He seeks to be perceived as a threat (even to the whole world), because he sees this as a manifestation of the importance of his own self. Why? It’s simple — he knows no other expression of personality implanted into mass consciousness. French author and journalist Bernard-Henri Levy aptly referred to Putin as “naked king”. In fact, King Putin has naked spiritually, that’s why his decisions are all shaped by a symbiosis of clever intrigue and poverty of intellect.
Bearings of the lonely KGB veteran
“Vindictive, lonely and senescent” are the most frequently used epithets referred to Putin’s personality. “A man with a narrow mindset typical for a secret service agent”, “a resentful man in an armored case” are the descriptions that are typically met in this case. It is argued that, an outsider since childhood, he has all the way been racing for his chance.
Putin gets into a fighter jet because he cannot take a decision on the rescue of the “Kursk” submarine sailors. In the same token, he, many years later, goes to the Russian-occupied Crimea, ostensibly to demonstrate his triumph, but, in fact, to conceal discontent with isolation and inability to go in for an invasion of the exhausted Ukraine that was left almost bloodless by internal turmoil. Putin is not going to be too soft on the weaker ones, which incidentally is the key feature of the operation on the annexation of Crimea.
It is true that the men of fixed ideas tend not to stop short of anything. Nero rejoiced at watching the burning Rome, happy at the thought that his name would be associated with the ashes of what used to be the Eternal City. Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait and destructive attacks on Kurds and Shiites left almost a hundred thousand dead. Putin, say the people who support him, has not approached this line thus far. This might be so, indeed. But Russia is not like Iraq or Serbia — Putin holds the ‘nuclear button’ in his hands. Some of those who investigated a series of apartment bombings in Russian cities that killed dozens in 1999 discovered numerous inconsistencies in high-ranking official reports on a frustrated similar attack in the city of Ryazan. There are some clues indicating that the FSB was directly engaged in preparations for the bombing attack. If this is so, then neither [then-FSB chief] Patrushev nor whoever else could carry out such a murderous plan without the knowledge of the master of the Kremlin.
Why Ryazan? According to Alexander Litvinenko, the author of a lot of incriminating materials against Putin, an apartment building in Ryazan was selected as target by the FSB because elements of the Ryazan Airborne Division were being prepared to launch an offensive operation in Chechnya. “On the one hand, the attack was to become proof that there is terrorist threat coming out of Chechnya, and, on the other hand, to make soldiers of the Ryazan Division hate the Chechens on the eve of the operation, kindling in them a sense of revenge.” If this is true, then the selected method is fully in the nature of ‘cloak and dagger’ men”. By the way, the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, Marina, claims that the Russian FSB security service was behind the radioactive polonium-210 poisoning of her ex-husband in November 2006.
There is no mystery in the fact that the creation of an enemy is just a technology project, but the styles Putin uses for countering his enemies could shed light on many things. Putin is fighting with his foes using the methods that have long been proven by the KGB school, which are clandestine, stealthy, silent, hard-line and merciless. The Russian Ruler is constantly generating external enemies for the country. Reasons for this have long been found out and described – enemies are concocted as a means to deflect attention away from the domestic agenda and from the concerns of most of the Russians who are far from being wealthy, to put it mildly. The fight with enemies is also needful as a tool of own rising and assertion. Having strewn the road to Chechnya with corpses of Russian soldiers and officers, the native of Leningrad is now trying to draw up the blueprints for new Crusade campaigns.
It would be really too naïve to believe that Putin has scare of international isolation or severe economic sanctions. He personally is insensitive to pain. He cares less of people; people are his least concern when it comes to construction of the monument of his own self-pride. The Master of the Kremlin has chosen to rely for support on uniformed men, those who develop and produce murder weapons — those whom he believes to be best fit for his purposes. With a personnel strength in excess of 200,000, the Russian FSB security service alone is bigger than the whole military of Ukraine. There is even the term ‘Putinism’ going around now to characterize a state where secret services have their tentacles deep in all branches of the government. A KGB veteran on the Russian throne, Putin has surrounded himself with KGB generals — disciplined and loyal servants. Academics, the mass media, a horde of chroniclers, polling agencies, prostitute directors and TV series stars are all his servants. However, even these people feel uncomfortable where this strange small man tries to ‘overcome gravity’. Well, Hitler also called himself “artist”, “architect”, “author” etc …
Every time Putin communicates with his ‘servant messengers’ (to call them journalists would be deceptive) it often looks like he is communicating with his own self. Meetings [with the press] are usually held at the times when Putin is uncertain or apprehensive, as was the case on 4 March 2014 (after the annexation of Crimea) and on April 17 (after the start of Russian undeclared invasion of mainland Ukraine). During his carefully dosed-out public appearances, Putin is clearly and visibly nervous, as could be seen from his body language uncharacteristic for an experienced KGB agent, such as generous hand gestures, mouth covering with hand and intense facial expressions. The linguistics that he uses is equally noteworthy; Putin is speaking in terms of the revitalization of the empire and the impotence of the West to stop this historical process. It looks as if behind the scenes he imagines himself to be a ‘neo-tsar’ or a conqueror.
Just like Hitler and Stalin, Putin is simply not able to withstand the pressure of critical public opinion. Observers claim that the Russian leader got white angry when he saw white ribbons fastened to clothes of anti-Kremlin protesters, and left the scene immediately. Hitler, even while remaining all-powerful, was hiding – literally — in his “Eagle’s Nest” in Berhtehgadene. Stalin got chalk pale and beat a hasty retreat after being subjected to a burst of harsh criticism from Trotsky.
It is well known that where there is an Ivan the Terrible there will, sooner or later, be a Malyuta Skuratov; each Joseph Stalin will easily find his own Lavrentiy Beria; Tigellins are always there where there are Neros; and Putin will rely for support on saboteurs like Girkin and a horde of Ramzan Kadyrov’s mercenaries. All is explained quite simply — people who have no chance for personal fulfillment under normal conditions of life would seek for a compensation while in ‘special’ conditions. Those ‘special’ conditions could be referred to as “the opening gateway” for lowly desires – self-assertion through abuses and killings or gaining unlimited power over others, with the right of impunity to any atrocities, granted to them by their leader.
At the beginning of his formation as a party leader, Hitler cleverly took advantage of the fact that the political overthrow of Germany after the end of WW I was a severe humiliation for national dignity. He raised up the spirit of struggle, urging the Germans to break the invisible cage they were forced into. Hitler was able to grasp the nation’s increased sensitivity to infringements and its willingness to revive its power and fight for great Germany.
Putin’s rhetorics is permeated by the idea of the greatness and power of the Russian people, who would rub the political undesirables “out in the outhouse” if this would be contributive to the country’s global status. As keenly noted by Der Spiegel, the adoption of Russian anti-gay legislation is a follow-up to the idea of the superiority of the Russians: “Indeed, in such circumstances, it’s is impossible that this will not have reverberations among the active part of the population with a chauvinistic chip of the greatness of the Russians deeply embedded in their consciousness.” The great-power ambitions will be heightened by way of rejecting or, if necessary, beating up the renegades, even if these are entire nations. Many remember a humiliating comment dropped by Putin about pit-workers, labeling them as being alcoholic and trouble makers – a good demonstration of Putin’s overall attitude to human values.
Putin and Ukraine: Will Erostratus be given a chance?
Finally and most importantly — what should Ukraine and Ukrainians expect out of Putin?
Before answering this question, it should be explicitly emphasized that ‘exemption of punishment’ is the key potential issue for Putin. No arguments of logic will matter for a man who believes in his exclusivity just like did Napoleon, who regarded his knees twitching as a Sign from Above. No mechanisms of restraint will work where no constrains have existed for a long time and committed crimes went unpunished.
The world already knows one or two things about Putin, not only from laudatory articles by Alexander Rahr of Vladimir Usoltsev, but also from his deeds. The crazy wars in Chechnya and the streets of Grozny flown with blood, the “Nord-Ost” hostage siege, the Beslan school siege, the doomed submarine “Kursk”, the fatality of the war in Georgia and the ever increasing violence of the Russian riot police during the dispersal of peaceful demonstrations are just to name a few. Add to this the annexed Crimea and the bleeding Donbas. Putin’s name has already begun to be identified with great tragedies and great wars.
Putin pathologically craves the continuation of his dangerous game – a universal disguise of weakness. This man will certainly not stop short of committing a crime just for the sake of being known as a high-powered leader, but only if he knows for sure he would get away with it, as was the case with the wars in Chechnya and Georgia. There is some ‘stink’ in how this desire is being fulfilled. More specifically, experts in psychology point out regarding some of the most odious utterances such as “rub out in the outhouse”, “blow snot” or “diarrhea slinging” that Putin has introduced recently, that he has subconscious motivation for humiliating his opponents. His intentions reflect a mixture of several purposes — to disguise his complexes and, at the same time, rejoice at humiliation of opponents. In this regard, Putin resembles Lenin — another misanthrope and the patriarch of the Soviet terror, known for his fondness for labeling opponents with epithets humiliating them mercilessly. Basically the motivation is the same – to get rid of fears and to hurt as hard as he can until he sees the pain. In this case, this desire of the current leader is so strong that it sometimes prevails over the need to respect the principles of diplomacy in interstate communication. Suffice it to recall Putin’s visit to Ukraine as Prime Minister and his sardonic comments relating to presidents Yushchenko and Saakashvili who were meeting the same day in Kiev. But those are gravely mistaken who consider this to simply be an error of Putin. The paraphrased line from Pushkin (“The fighters reminisced about past days and the battles they have lost together”, in place of the “battles they have fought together” in the poem by Pushkin), which he pronounced in front of TV cameras, was in effect a well thought-out ‘set piece’ designed to humiliate weaker opponents when they were down already. In this paraphrase, Putin apparently referred to Yushchenko, who lost the fight for the Euro-Atlantic integration prospect for Ukraine, and Saakashvili who suffered a military setback from Putin’s army. In this context, one should also recall an anecdote where Yulia Tymoshenko, during her prime ministerial meeting with Vladimir Putin, sought to play along with him, poking fun at the then president Viktor Yushchenko. This bizarre antic is a perfect description of Putin — that’s him to a tee.
There is no doubt that Putin has been accustomed to speaking the language of force. Hence the carefully camouflaged intention to offer the friendship to Beijing, a friendship where Russia would be a junior, loyal brother. Just like Hitler didn’t give a shit about the League of Nations, Putin did the same in relation to confidence building and collective security in Europe. That’s why the number-one thing Kiev should expect out of Moscow is more ‘punches in the guts’ and ‘blows under the belt’. In the language of war this means asymmetrical warfare, including attacks on civilians, abuses and tortures. Putin’s men need to be knocked out of Ukraine – uncompromisingly, deliberately and continuously. The dialogue can only occur if it is supported by modern weapons and soldiers’ determination to win…
As things stand now, Putin is playing a contemporary Erostratus, “setting fire” to the reality that evolved for decades, without offering anything in return. He apparently understands that the genius’ gown is too big for him, but doesn’t want to come to terms with this reality. He is now one single step away from tremendous crimes of the same proportions as those committed by Stalin or Hitler. The pendulum in his mind has silently swung to the extreme.
Interestingly, handwriting experts have identified Putin as suffering from a clear-cut victim syndrome, meaning he has developed “a mentality of resentment” where a person always feels being offended, insulted and discriminated. As befits a destructive personality, Putin’s authority feeds on the recognition of his greatness. He will tenaciously keep Ukraine in suspense, all, of course, under the guise of promoting the “great power status” for Russia. He has already bared his fangs and hooked his claws, and he will continue to work for destruction.
Moreover, Putin has become accustomed to flattery and cynicism. Ramzan Kadyrov, president of the Chechen Republic, is probably the one who has excelled in the cynical ‘deification’ of the Russian president when, in 2008, he renamed the main street of Grozny – a city that was one time drowned in blood by the heir of the traditions of NKVD – after Putin.
Seeking to improve his popular image, Putin has surrounded himself with legends on having achieved a mystic connection with God (he even wears a cross consecrated in Jerusalem), and he probably really believes himself to be the God’s chosen one. Well, Ivan the Terrible prayed between killings … Hitler repeatedly stated that “Divine Providence wished” him to “carry out the German mission.” When Putin keeps silent, his yes-men are speaking on his behalf. “There are no longer opponents of Putin’s policy, and if there are, they are mentally ill and should be sent to prophylactic health examination. Putin is everywhere, Putin is everything. Putin is absolute. Putin is irreplaceable.” These words of Alexander Dugin are a reflection of virtual paranoia over Putin — Putinism …
And one more thing. For many it is inexplicable why masses of the Russian people have developed an unimaginable level of intolerance and chauvinism that has made them thirst for killings and sadism – this being in the twenty-first century, on the eve of an era of spirituality! However, it’s only at first glance that this monstrous explosion of barbarism is alien to nature or time. It has always been the case throughout the history of civilization: once there is someone who favors sadistic, destructive behaviors, it’s certain he will find supporters from among those people who would never have a chance of looking into the face of success under otherwise circumstances. Suffice it to look at faces of the anti-Ukrainian movement ‘leaders’ in Crimea and the Donbas and you will see that this is exactly the case. Putin simply let go the vices, just like a lot of bloody dictators did before him. This technology was commonly used by members of the NKVD-KGB community, but not only by them. Otto Kiefer, an outstanding German researcher of ancient Rome, wrote on how the Romans developed the affection for atrocities thus: “men acquire delight in cruelty, not only through the force of habit, but from the sadistic impulses which sleep more or less soundly in every man’s heart, and which when once aroused always craves for stronger stimulus and stronger satisfaction”. In no way does this make Putin personally less responsible for the massacre in the East of Ukraine in 2014-2015, but quite the reverse: it is evidence of his personal involvement in inciting deadly enmity between kindred peoples.
Putin has long become a national tragedy of Russia. But the truth is that if he is given a resounding rebuff, he will be forced to retreat, albeit slowly. There is only one thing Putin really fears: to become a pariah to the world, that is, to degrade from a potential hero to a person named ‘Nothing’. Therefore he must be fought with his own weapon, which is information. If every Russian will be knowledgeable about the true intentions of the man with an agenda and experiences of a KGB officer, his illusive expectations of keeping power and consolidating it further will crumble like a house of sand in a rain storm.
Director of Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies