Vladimir Sorokin, in an exclusive Süddeutsche Zeitung article, explains how the Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin has morphed from a beacon of hope into a monster. However Sorokin believes that the invasion of Ukraine is a step too far and presages the end of Putin’s despotic regime. Putin’s Goose is Cooked.
24 February 2022 was the day the cloak of “enlightened autocrat” that Putin wore all these years fell off and revealed to the world a monster, delusional and merciless. [Ed: This was hinted at in our article just before the invasion comparing Putin to Hitler.]
In pondering how this could happen Sorokin compares Putin with Frodo in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ who gets seduced by the ‘Ring of Power’ and refuses to throw it into the glowing lava.
Sorokin describes the early Putin as “… sympathetic, even attractive, and his rhetoric reasonable”, promising “reforms, free elections, freedom of speech, respect for human rights, cooperation with the West”. However it didn’t take long before the ‘Ring of Power’ was on his finger and “… peu à peu the man transformed into an imperial monster”.
Since Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century, Russian leaders have used a pyramid power structure which broached no compromise and required “… a power that was cruel and incomprehensible to the people”. All Russian leaders since then have followed this model: Peter I, Nicholas II, Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov and now Putin.
Yeltsin with his “senseless war against Chechnya” failed to break down this pyramid and when his protégé Putin was promoted he “… began to change. Hatred took possession of him”.
Sorokin describes how the media was brought under control:
“The television company NTV was smashed, the TV channels passed into the hands of his cronies, whereupon a system of strict censorship was established on television and Putin was from now on above any criticism”.
Then an example was made of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, head of Yukos Corporation. He was imprisoned for ten years and Yukos was looted by Putin’s cronies. This move was designed to scare other oligarchs. It worked. Some left the country, the rest became Putin’s lackeys.
The breakup of the USSR, which was greeted by all those families who had suffered under Stalin as a liberation, was viewed by Putin as the biggest catastrophe of the twentieth century. The KGB officer in Putin wanted to return to his Soviet youth and soon demanded that all his subjects did so too.
Sorokin argues that Putinism is:
“… rather eclectic: the reverence for everything Soviet goes hand in hand with a feudal ethic, Lenin pairs with Putin with tsarist Russia and Orthodoxy”.
Putin’s pet philosopher, Ivan Ilyin (1883-1954), a monarchist and fascist, saw Bolshevism ending with a powerful leader would emerge who was “ready and able to raise Russia from its knees”. [Ed: Putin even brought Ilyin’s remains back to Russia and consecrated them.]
And Putin uses this slogan of ‘raising Russia from her knees’ all the time. Putin wrongly quotes Lenin as having created Ukraine, when history records that is was the ‘Rada’ (Ukrainian Council) after Lenin dissolved its assembly. Putin has latched onto Ilyin’s warped logic which says that a Russia devoid of nationalist pride “will enter a new phase of dying of Western depravity”.
“If Russia has indeed risen from its knees, so popular someone jokes, then it was quickly back on all fours, enslaved by corruption, authoritarianism, arbitrariness of the authorities, misery. And war, one may add now”.
Sorokin then goes on to upbraid those in the West who “understand” Putin. There is nothing to understand because his whole strategy is based on lies, large and small, which form a continuous stream of deception. So there is no point says Sorokin in speaking to such a liar and quotes Angela Merkel’s efforts which could not prevent the occupation of Georgia, the annexation of Crimea, the support of the Donbas separatists and now the invasion of Ukraine. Obama tried to make a “new start” after Putin’s Georgian war but failed.
“Putin’s inner monster was nourished not only by the pyramid of power, the venal Russian elite, which Putin – like an emperor to the satraps – occasionally threw fat bites of corruption from his table. It was also fattened by irresponsible Western politicians, cynical profiteers, corrupt journalists and political scientists. A strong, consistent ruler! That fascinated them all! ‘The new Russian Tsar’ – invigorating like vodka, like caviar”.
Sorokin then quotes people he’s met in Germany who admire Putin for being strong and saying what he thinks. This shows how little people have learned from the 1930s.
But Sorokin concludes that this war in Ukraine is the start of the end for Putin. Putin’s ‘special operation’ against Ukrainian ‘aggressors’ was after peace-loving Russia had annexed Crimea and supported separatists in East Ukraine. This is straight out of Stalin’s playbook for Finland in 1939. But this ‘special operation’ crosses a red line and the world sees Putin for whom he really is. If you listen to Putin’s speech launching the “Spezoperazija”, he is targeting NATO and the USA not just Ukraine.
Sorokin claims the Russian people are to blame for not stopping Putin earlier but he will be stopped. The world of freedom and democracy is greater than the Democracy will triumph.
“Putin invaded a free and democratic country just because it was free and democratic and that the free and democratic world cannot accept. Putin’s goose is cooked and we shall consign this monster once and for all to the past.”