No matter what the West does, Russia's position and Putin's popularity just keeps growing stronger
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Originally Appeared at Contra-Magazin. Translated from the German by Susan Neumann
No matter what the West does to turn the Russian people against Vladimir Putin and his government — somehow it always has the opposite effect. However, through whatever amateurish actions it chooses, the West simply has to fail.
The assured popularity that Vladimir Putin garners from the Russian people would make Western leaders green with envy. The reasons for his popularity are diverse. Putin's success in his own country rests not only on his political strength, but also on the West’s lack thereof. The West simply can’t offer the Russians any desirable alternative to make a change of government worthwhile. The memory if the Washington puppet Boris Yeltsin is still too fresh.
Assuming that the surveys from the Levada Center were conducted independently, just about 41 percent trust government-related television. This is in comparison to 79 percent from the year 2008. But the Western-backed/ funded media enjoy even less trust among the population and as a consequence, the broadcast range is limited. The reason for this might be because the Russians are used to reading between the lines, a skill they picked up during the Soviet times. Most Russians already know very well that the primary function of pro-western media is to discredit the Kremlin. Ergo: 1: 0 for Putin.
Then there is "Western democracy", which is being offered to the Russians as an alternative. But if you take a look at Russia’s main opponent; namely the US, then you can understand why the Russians choose to keep their tried-and-true ways. Why should they replace a well-functioning Russian system with a thoroughly corrupt two-party system, such as the one in the United States, where well over 90 percent of the candidates are already bought and paid for by various companies and financial elites?
There’s plenty of corruption in Russia, to be sure (Putin tried to go against them), but at least the Russian president has brought the oligarchs in the country under control, whereas the US oligarchy controls the entire spectrum of US politics. A look at the pro-Western opposition in Russia, an operation financed by the West, shows that the regime-changers in Washington, London, Brussels, and Berlin are apparently only capable of financing complete failure, criminals, and characterless zombies. These aren't exactly what the Russians would consider votable candidates. Ergo: 2: 0 for Putin.
And then there’s the idea of Russia being the antithesis of "Western culture". In Russia, however, there is an even greater emphasis placed on the traditional family, and religion (Christian Orthodox, Muslim, etc.) plays a significant role in it. The general social attitude is more conservative and, for the majority of Russians, the West just isn't attractive when you consider its jarringly open and nearly-pornographic gay pride parades, gender mainstreaming in education, and early sexual initiation at schools. Ergo: 3: 0 for Putin.
Oh yeah, and then there are the anti-Russian sanctions in light of the Ukraine crisis, the return of the Crimea to Russia, and various insinuations (MH17 ...). Does anyone in Washington, London, Brussels, or Berlin actually believe that you can achieve a political turnaround in a country by imposing sanctions on it? These sanctions strike at the core of the urban middle class in Russia, and they are the ones you would target as most likely to join the pro-Western camp. The sanctionists have achieved quite the opposite, in fact, since this voter block will most certainly side with Putin now. Ergo: 4: 0 for Putin.
So, as you see, all of these efforts by the West to incite Russians to take a stand against Putin and the Kremlin were condemned to fail from the get-go. So, instead of sinking money into any pointless, hateful propaganda, “bought” politicians, and the like, the West could focus its efforts on becoming a really attractive, alternative [democratic] model again. Then maybe that will eventually lend itself to political rapprochement.
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