The Parallax Brief


Unrepentant Subjectivity on Economics, Politics, Defence, Foreign Policy, and Russia

Putin says he is “Too Trusting”

In an exclusive interview with Bloomberg Television to air tomorrow, Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister and former president, will say that his greatest fault is being “too trusting.”

I have heard Mr. Putin accused of many things, but I suspect nobody has even considered him “too trusting.” One wonders how paranoid Russia would be if he thought he was ‘trusting enough’.

I guess we can be thankful he didn’t go for the ultimate interview cliché and say he was “too enthusiastic.”


Filed under: Politics, Russia, , ,

Putin and the Cult of Slothful Journalism

The western media is obsessed with the doings of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin. Virtually everything the former president does is lavished with newspaper coverage. But being firmly in rapacious anti-Russia mode, the western media seem to have turned his PR activities into something more sinister: the construction of a cult of personality.

It makes for a neat argument. Wrestling tigers, teaching kids judo, and fishing topless are all part of an attempt to build a cult of personality; cults of personality are unique to totalitarian regimes; therefore, Russia is necessarily a totalitarian regime, which – whoda thunk it? – fits neatly with the line currently peddled by much of the Western media that Putin’s regime is despotic, while simultaeously making mundane politicians’ photo-ops into something interesting enough to sell papers. Perfect!

The latest similar news item to be given the hysterical tint now commonplace in western coverage of Russian politics is word that the Russian PM has painted a picture to contribute to a charity auction. This time, nobody has explicitly linked the painting to the cult of personality theory, but they have done so with similar stories in the past and the implication is there this time.

But before neo-con knickers get in a twist about Putin leading another Red Scare, I’d like to ask whether this isn’t the kind of thing all politicians do everywhere? Their PR people try to cultivate a certain image, and invite journalists along to official trips that will show off their man or woman in an attractive light, do they not?

Such practice is considered normal practice in the West, but apparently when Putin does likewise it’s cast as some kind of nefarious retread of Stalinist propaganda.

I’m no apologist for Putin, but this is absurd. And let’s be honest, the idea of having an all-action hero as president proved incredibly popular in the US back in the day.

Filed under: Russia, , , , ,