… [Putin] has much enjoyed The Third Empire, a fantasy about an imaginary Latin American historian from 2054, who recounts the exploits of Tsar Vladimir II, the in-gatherer of all Russian lands. __ In the Court of Tsar Vlad II
Russia’s Alternate Reality:
I recently moved to Moscow, and it’s hard to miss the extent to which Russian society exists in an alternate universe. Even well-educated, sophisticated people who have traveled widely in Europe and North America will frequently voice opinions that, in an American context, would place them alongside people wearing tinfoil hats. Russia is not living in the reality-based community. _WaPo
Strangely, the quote above comes from an article by Mark Adomanis, himself an author widely noted for often going far out on a limb to defend or rationalise Russian absurdities. If Mark thinks Russians are weird and kooky, what would an objective person who is less of a Russophile think?
Putin’s web of lies repeated endlessly by Russophiles and the Russian monopolistic state media. We can only wait to see the impact on the Russian economy and Russian society, as the reality of Putin’s erratic excesses rebound onto Russia.
It isn’t likely that Putin has yet reached his tipping point, but many thoughtful and talented Russians — not the average drunken Russian redneck who supports Putin whole-heartedly — are beginning to doubt their futures in Russia under Putin.
Fallout from Putin’s grand Ukrainian adventure is likely to haunt the dictator for the rest of his life. In the short term, Putin will make Europe fear him (and more) — much as Europe feared to provoke Hitler in the run up to WWII. In the long run, things are likely to become very complicated.
Update Jan 2015:
Among Russians’ weaknesses is a proclivity for believing in all kinds of strange ideas, a tendency that manifests itself in persecution manias, neo-Eurasianism, and zapadophobia (fear of the West) as well as the exaggerated belief in Russia’s historical destiny.
… Self-criticism has not been in fashion in Russia for a long time: Whenever something goes wrong, it must be the fault of the West. There is the widespread and profound belief in all kinds of conspiracy theories, the more outlandish the better and more popular. This mind-set is not at all funny in the age of weapons of mass destruction.
There is the loathing of the West, and especially of America, and there is the orientation toward a close alliance with China, seen in Moscow as an alliance of equals, as if there could be equality when the population of one partner is ten times as large as the other’s and its GNP five times larger. The Russian leadership has persuaded itself that all Beijing wants is the liberation of Taiwan. Great are the powers of self-deception. __ Russia’s State of Mind
Russophiles and Russians have concocted all sorts of weird and kooky conspiracy tales to justify their support for the quasi-genocidal annexation by Russia of parts of neighboring countries. This is their problem which will dog their ability to view the world on rational terms until they decide to face their addiction.
If the craziness of Russians and Russophiles emboldens Putin to initiate actions which lead to another large-scale war — that will be everyone’s problem. Putin’s personal sense of manifest destiny may have taken in large numbers of gullible dupes, but a much larger number of people stand to pay the price for the bombastic swindle.