Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it was painfully apparent within certain circles of the West that there was a thorough lack of even a rudimentary education on what the Russian government is today. Some erstwhile leftists have even been seen praising the despotic leader in a fashion that would make even Putin cringe. So let’s make a few facts clear.
Putin is the de facto head of United Russia, a reactionary, rightwing political party that dominates the executive branch and the Duma (legislative). He, and he alone, has essentially what amounts to dictatorial powers. His party is not even remotely left, progressive or socialist in the least. And he has thrived on stoking racist nationalism.
What is interesting to note is that despite UR being the dominant political party, communists have been gaining more sympathy in recent years and there is a marked longing for the days of the USSR where at least in its hay day most Russians had reliable work, good educational opportunities, housing, paid holidays and a decent living standard. Today, the poverty rate has been rising steadily while population declines, leaving a lot of elderly Russians in a bad state. And, like the United States, powerful and wealthy oligarchs run the economy to the benefit of their coffers.
So it is laughable that there are some people who identify as left who cannot stop themselves from praising Putin as an “anti-imperialist” and thinking he is their comrade. Putin, himself, would laugh at such idiocy.
Kenn Orphan, February 2022
*Photograph by Sean Gallup / Getty