I was just reading these two articles(1, 2) by John R. Schindler and I was thoroughly impressed. This guy seriously gets it. I highly recommend reading both of them, but the second one is particularly informative for people who don’t understand the Kremlin’s ideology.

Obviously there are things I would dispute in the article but nothing major- it’s simply difference of opinion or interpretation issues. I would highlight one thing that I recommend everyone keep in mind when examining the question of the Kremlin’s ideology. Study it as you please, but always keep in mind that there is always a limit to what extent Putin and his close circle actually believe in any of these theories. I figure Putin must have a measure of sincere belief, partially to rationalize his actions and partially because he is, possibly voluntarily, disconnected from reality. Still, you cannot fully understand Putin by ideology alone.

Putin and his elite come from the same cloth as the Russian oligarchs that came before. They have no moral principles whatsoever. All they cherish is power and luxury beyond belief, the latter being tangible proof of the former. Money is no object. If you have a genuine virgin Swiss milkmaid shit in a handcrafted burlap sack and put it on sale in an elite European mall, these pigs would pay thousands of euros to have it. When they look at European luxury cars and high-tech gadgets they don’t ask themselves how they could transform Russia into a country that produces its own versions of these products for export; they just want the products. Millions of pensioners, orphans, and terminally ill children be damned!

So basically the caveat here is that anyone who wants to understand Putin and his system must remember that ideology is a means to an end. Putin is scared and he needs to rally the people behind him. He has nothing real to offer so he courts a certain segment of the population that responds to his neo-imperialist ideology and sets them loose on dissenters. If Putin could somehow maintain power by selling a piece of Russia and its citizens to a foreign country, he certainly would. It just so happens that he can’t.

I have to say in some ways I think Schindler overstates Russia’s threat to the world, a la Edward Lucas, but after a more thorough reading and some reflection I don’t think that’s the case. I have always acknowledged that Russia poses a danger(as many other countries *COUGH*USA!*COUGH* do), it’s just that I’ve recommended not engaging in hysterics which only send the Kremlin and its key demographic into fits of masturbatory ecstasy. Moreover, I believe that like a drunk man swinging his arms around wildly, Russia can do a lot of damage to its neighbors before collapsing, which will open a whole other can of worms. In this sense, I don’t think there really is a difference between my view and that of Schindler, who does rationally argue that whatever his ideological beliefs, Putin will ultimately fail. It’s just a question of who suffers in the mean time. If there is a difference, it is only that Schindler appeals to Western leaders to wake up to this threat and do something about it, whereas I don’t put my faith in governments. I believe Western leaders would happily draw up a map with Putin if he would just leave Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Belarus in their sphere. They were happy to tolerate him before.

Very educational reading.


21 thoughts on “Impressive

  1. Shalcker

    While first link is a bit defeatist (“Russia is already doing as it pleases and EU is too blind to see and counter it! Need to stop them before their later inevitable fall (which might take quite a while), economic pressure does nothing! We must help real war against their advances to prevent real war against us!”) second one is indeed excellent.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I interpret the first one as saying, better it fall faster and in a controlled way rather than dragging the whole region into a war and killing/displacing more people.

      Do I think Western governments can facilitate that? Nnnnnnnnnope!

  2. jon

    Most of us anti-American-minded people start off as Russophiles, marry Russian women and the rest of it. Bust most of us, at least the ones who have lived in Russia for an extended period of time, subsequently begin to gain an awareness of the ugly reality that is the Russian government.

      1. jon

        That was weird. I posted that last post in the Kremlin Stooge blog (to the author who genuinely thinks that Putin cares about and is helping everyday Russians). At least I thought I did!

    1. Estragon

      The comments section at Kremlin Stooge is something to behold. A post can get 1000+ comments, all by the same 5-6 Putinists high-fiving each other. They must not have much of a life outside the Internet to spend so much time doing this.

  3. Chukuriuk

    I see you are willing “to profit from old Marx´s insight into how intelligent conservatives often see more (and are more aware of the antagonisms of the existing order) than liberal progressives” — you know who said that. I’ve long read Schindler’s blog for the same reasons.

  4. jon

    I’m facepalmed-out today.

    By the way, how about something about Putin’s inner circle of billionaires? The Rotenberg brothers, for example. Arkady Rotenberg’s SGM Group has today been give the job of building the Crimea bridge. (Umm.. hello? Tender anyone?). The best bit is this – SGM Group doesn’t even build bridges (facepalm AGAIN).

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Yeah I actually remember writing about how Putin’s other friend Timchenko, the first to get the bid, suddenly pulled out of the project saying “nobody knows the geology there.” He was probably afraid of additional sanctions, but there’s speculation that this project might not even be possible.

    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Every reply merely tightens the noose around this guy’s neck. Is sure is upset though. I’ve noticed that these armchair Russia journalists get really angry when you point out their lack of experience and linguistic ability. There’s a guy in the US somewhere who did the same thing when I brought this up.

      I think it’s because they know that deep down, they really have no idea what they’re talking about. As long as people more ignorant than them keep praising them for their “informative” work, they are happy. Once someone with real quals shows up, they get angry.


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