Not letting go of power Putin style: lies propaganda and blood25.03.2021
Autumn this year will bring a great challenge to Vladimir Putin – State Duma elections are to be held on 19 September. At the moment, several signs indicate that this may be a turning point for Russians. You may ask: what do parliamentary elections have to do with Putin? Quite simple – one of the candidates is Putin’s pocket party United Russia, and public support for this party must be viewed as support for Putin.
Why do I believe this to be true? The party was established to support Putin’s political course, and if the party loses popularity, it means that Putin has lost popularity as well.
Let’s take a brief look at history. The previous State Duma elections were held on 18 September 2016 with 450 seats at stake and the results were as follows:
- United Russia – 336 seats;
- Communist Party – 43 seats;
- LDPR – 40 seats;
- A Just Russia – 23 seats;
- Nonpartisan politicians – 2 seats;
- Vacant seats – 6.
United Russia received 54.20% of the votes in 2016, which is a 4.88% increase compared to the previous election where it was able to secure 49.32%. You must agree that the dominance of United Russia is undisputable, meaning that Putin is supported by a staggering majority.
Therefore, it came as a shock when recently published data suggested that 27% of Russians would be willing to vote for United Russia in the upcoming election in September. This indicates that Putin’s party has lost 27.2% of its supporters.
The last time United Russia had such a low electoral rating was in the summer of 2013, but this was drastically changed by Russia’s invasion into Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea. Moreover, Putin’s rating also slumped significantly in 2013.
Does this mean that the success of Putin’s party came only from wars?
That sounds very scary. So, I dove into some deeper history and uncovered something quite interesting.
In 1999, when Putin became prime minister, he was supported by a mere 2% of the population. However, since the 9 September bombing of the apartment building on Guryanova Street in Moscow, Putin’s rating started growing like cucumbers in Chernobyl, i.e. by 3-4% weekly. And in December, the peak of the Chechen War, his support had already reached 45%.
Does this mean that Putin, along with his pocket party United Russia, have been able to hold on to power solely because of wars? As cynical as it may sound, the answer is yes. I will try to explain how this phenomenon is possible.
Let’s start by looking at a public survey conducted in 2019, in which one of the questions asked was: “What are the events you are proud of; what events cause shame and anger?”
Most Russians (87%) take pride in the Soviet victory in WWII. Then comes the conviction that Russia is the leader in space exploration (50%), followed by the annexation of Crimea (45%).
And what are the Russians ashamed of? 61% of those surveyed said that they are ashamed of the fact that, despite Russia being a great country with great people, they have always lived in poverty.
Let’s decipher the results.
The ugly truth is that everything the Russians are proud of has to do with blood, pain and suffering. Let’s not forget that this is supplemented by lies and massive propaganda being fed to people from the early age. If you take an infant (every infant in the country) to a lake and begin telling him that that is the sea, the infant will grow up believing that a lake is the sea.
The same goes for the achievements that Russians take pride in – they are essentially twisted facts served in a rich propaganda sauce.
Disregarding the Soviet lives lost during WWII is wrong, especially when a huge number of them were deliberately led to their futile deaths. We know from history that during the Soviet era the thing that was valued the least was human life – there were just so many around. And let’s not forget that those who died were citizens of the USSR, of which Russia was merely a part of.
Secondly, there were numerous other nations involved in WWII aside from the USSR, and without Allied assistance (Lend-Lease) the Soviet Union would have never been able to win the war. Of course, modern Russia is silent about this because it lessens it’s own “achievements”. We cannot question the losses suffered by the Russian people during WWII, but without the help of others the USSR would have lost. Now, the situation is that due to propaganda people are proud of something they didn’t achieve. Everyone suffered.
A bit more on this topic – during WWII the territory of the USSR was partly invaded and its infrastructure demolished. Germany was destroyed completely, but we know how things developed afterwards. Germany (the part not under Soviet influence) lived much better than its invader the Soviet Union. If we look at pensions (2020 data), former Wehrmacht soldiers receive 576,000 RUR, while former Soviet army soldiers get 35,000 RUR + a parade as a bonus.
This is where the massive propaganda comes in – Russians have been ingrained with the idea that they won the war (who cares if other countries helped as well), therefore they are better (who cares if the victors live in worse conditions than the losers).
Next – leader in space exploration? How is Russia’s leading position manifesting in reality? Is it the fact that it was the first to launch a satellite (again, an achievement of the entire Soviet Union, not Russia) and a man in space? The missile was actually intended for military purposes, but it turned out to be useless for that.
Is it the fact that unimaginable amounts of money were spent on military needs while the regular people lived in poverty? There are no other achievements, the rest was done by the US – and its people lived far better.
The third achievement the Russians are most proud of is the occupation of Crimea. I will admit – this is the only thing that Russia did by itself, but it would be better for everyone if it hadn’t. Moreover, it’s bizarre, to say the least, to take pride in killing and looting. However, we must consider that if someone is bad at everything except brute force, they will naturally cling to believing that this is something to be proud of.
But it’s very interesting that the Russian people are ashamed and don’t believe its normal that Russia is rich country with great people, but that they have always been living in poverty and disorder.
They are right, but this means that Russians are proud of things that cause them the greatest shame. There is poverty because the elite spends monumental amounts of money on military and personal needs, which is made possible by the people being fed propaganda.
By feeding the Russian people lies and half-truths it is very easy to keep them on a short leash. When a part of the public begins to wake of from this sleep of lies, Putin stages a small war and once again tells everyone how great and powerful they are – “you should be proud.”
If we look at it from this standpoint, it can’t be ruled out that Putin and his pocket party will only be able to remain in power if Russia achieves some sort of a military victory. However, if we look at the previous scenarios, these wars always began at least a year before the election. Thus, this time such a scenario is unlikely. Or perhaps Putin has already invaded everyone he ever possibly could.
This leaves us with three options.
First, any unrest in Russia will be suppressed with brute force so that people won’t event try to express their dissatisfaction. Second, the army will be sent to vote and election commission members will ensure that the votes are counted “correctly”. If protests erupt, return to the first option.
And lastly, a lesson in diplomacy – the Belarusian nation completely willingly and eagerly unites with Russia. And once again the ears of Russians are filled with propaganda – you are so great and powerful that even your Belarusian brothers and sisters envy you. That’s why they decided to join.
And then Putin and his pocket party will be able to live in peace, because they will have shown to the public that not everything is ideal here, but outside it’s far worse – look, others even want to live like we do. The fact that that’s achieved using lies and weapons is a whole other story.
In conclusion – it is becoming evident that Putin has gained and maintained power solely due to military activities and propaganda, i.e. he achieved and is holding on to power with hands that are covered in the sweat, blood and tears of his own people and other as well.