The “Putin Phenomenon” and Western Media: An Autopsy

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October 24, 2016 – 

Ruslan Ostashko, PolitRussia – translated by J. Arnoldski –

Last week was marked by some kind of epidemic that furiously drove the Western media to write critical articles about and draw evil cartoons of Vladimir Putin. Sure, this is what they do, but this time there was literally an explosion of heightened activity.

The Economist, The Spectator, and The New Yorker – this is a far from complete list of publications that placed the image of the Russian president on their covers and addressed him in their articles. To some, this might seem like a sign of global condemnation and the global isolation of Russia, but this is not so. In fact, we are witnessing what can be called the simple and succinct word “hysteria.”

Hysteria arises when the human psyche can’t withstand the collision between strong desires and the compelling, surrounding reality. For example, a child really wants a toy, but the parents refuse to buy it. If the child is ill-mannered and spoiled, then his natural reaction will be hysterical with cries and tears and sometimes even statements that his parents don’t love him. 

This is about the same thing that is happening to the Western media and political elite. They really want for Putin to be gone, for him to disappear. They want the almighty Russian oligarchs to remove him and erase his memory from history.

These desires are very strong, but inflexible reality consistently shows Western politicians and the media the finger, which causes a hysterical tantrum. And additional anger is provoked by the fact that Putin does not draw rejection, but rather all the more sympathy among prospective politicians and ordinary citizens in the most different countries. Between the lines, these endless articles describing how bad and dangerous Putin is contain an appeal by Western politicians to their citizens: “Love us, not Putin! Love us, not those who are like Putin!” But without effect.

Now they’ve painted Putin with a black silhouette with red fighter jets in his eyes. What’s next?

Readers of The Economist have gathered a collection of the Putin cartoons that this journal publishes, but British journalists have failed to affect Putin’s rating abroad or in Russia. 

In addition, the unleashing of Putinphobia is starting to work against Western propagandists. For example, the average Westerner sees the journal The Spectator depicting a caricature of Putin with an RT logo in his hands and thinks: “Here’s a good magazine! I’ll read it at my leisure. They’re probably writing about those terrible and bad Russians!”

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The ordinary Westerner goes on the magazine’s website and encounters culture shock from the article entitled “Stop this foolish saber-rattling with Russia!” in which journalist Rod Liddle writes: “It’s not their side that worries me; it’s ours.” 

The journalist goes on to say how dangerous Western hypocrisy is, how dangerous the foolishness of Western politicians was in regards to Libya, Syria, Russia, and other countries, and he also shares thoughts as to what is cheaper: buying a ticket to New Zealand, which no one will bomb, or digging a bunker at home, since a nuclear war could happen soon. This example shows that Putin is not a symbol of horror. He can’t be used to scare anybody anymore, but rather only attracts attention, especially the attention of those who are tired of Western politicians.

The political elite of the US, Germany, the UK, and other countries themselves are raising Putin’s rating in ratio to their own disapproval ratings. The ordinary person often thinks of the principle “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and his own hatred and distrust of corrupt and deceitful politicians turns into support and sympathy for the Russian president. 

Paradoxically, the more that the media criticizes him, the more laymen come to like him, seeing him as a superhero defying the global establishment. And it is Hillary Clinton, CNN, and The Economist that have worked on this superhero image.

Judge for yourselves. Only a superhero can bomb terrorists, drive up oil prices, hack Democratic Party servers in the US, influence American elections, and drag Ukraine away from the European path and more all at the same time.

In fact, I am 100% sure that the blame for the next wave of the global economic crisis will be at least partially put on Putin. It turns out that Western politicians have created the Putin superhero image and are now wondering: “But what audience likes this?”

People like superheroes. In a world accustomed to Hollywood drama, the Russian president can only be expected to turn into a geopolitical Batman who stands against villains, wastes them in toilets, and doesn’t leave a penny for the official world police. 

From the point of view of Western politicians, who are essentially gray and tasteless products of bureaucratic machinery and political image-makers, Putin has done a terrible thing – he has shown the world that a successful politician can be totally different. He can be a patriot, a Christian, and a conservative, i.e., all the things that a Western politician is banned from being.

Putin’s success is political death for the whole generation of globalized, post-Christian, politically correct politicians and all the Clintons and Hollandes. This is why they hate Putin, and why they are failing. For world history, they have already died, but they just don’t get it. 

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