Putin and the Putinians, by Héctor Abad Faciolince

A quick look at Putin’s friends in the world he gives a clear idea of ​​his preferences: it is not a preference for the left (as one might think, given his friendship with supposedly leftist governments); neither does he lean to the right (Putin also has allies in right-wing governments); his true inclination, then, is for governments that despise liberal democracy, or at least democracy as it is conceived in the European Union, the United States, Australia or Japan. It is enough even for a leader in this last bloc to have authoritarian leanings so that sympathy for Putin and his methods of government immediately arise.

Wherever an autocrat sprouts, nostalgic for the strong man and alone who rules a country united around him at will, Putin is there. Hence his closeness to Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chavez or Nicolas Maduro, that supposed continental left of countries ruled by autocrats; but also from there the recent infatuation with Jair Bolsonaro, who has just visited him in the Kremlin, in the midst of the Ukraine crisis (“Putin believes in God, honors his military and values ​​​​the family & rdquor ;, declared the Brazilian upon arrival) or the flirtations with the Argentine Peronist (or nostalgic for Perón), Alberto Fernández, another recent traveler to Russia, thirsty for dollars that Putin cannot give him.

the path that the fascist Bolsonaro has become Putin’s new best friend in Latin America it’s pretty obvious. When Biden won the elections in the United States, Bolsonaro was the first to align himself with Trump, and dazzled by his idol and his model, he declared that Biden’s victory had been a fraud. Trump’s closeness to Russia’s strongman was older, as Trump owed the Russian autocrat many favors during his election campaign against Hillary Clinton. Reciprocated favor: if someone always closed both eyes to Putin’s crimes, this was his friend Donald Trump. To understand the contrast between Trump and his successor, nothing is clearer than Biden’s opinion on Russia’s strongman: “Putin is a murderer & rdquor ;.

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It is? Some former Putin aides think so. Let us only remember the dissident Aleksandr Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian secret services (ФСБ or FSR, which replaced the Soviet KGB). After being imprisoned and persecuted by Putin he managed to escape to Britain with his family, he received political asylum and then British citizenship. Litvinenko accused Putin of having given the order to assassinate the disgraced Russian oligarch, Boris Berezovskyand the journalist Anna Pokitkovskaya (fierce criticism of the Putin government). Poor Litvinenko did not long survive his accusations: in 2006 he was poisoned with polonium-210 (a substance so toxic that a single gram of this isotope is enough to kill 50 million people). Litvinenko had a microgram (one millionth of a gram) put into a drink and died 20 days later in horrendous suffering. All the clues in this murder point in the same direction: that of the former KGB lieutenant colonel and former spy for the same organization in East Germany, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Grandson, to be exact, of Joseph Stalin’s personal cook.

Ukraine is one of the biggest ‘breadbaskets of Europe’. Its fertile plains are great producers of wheat. Ukraine’s great sin is wanting to get closer to the democratic model of the European Union (like its neighbors Poland, Hungary or Lithuania) and move away from the model of domination established when it was a Soviet republic. During Stalin the Ukrainian language was banned and attempts were made to completely ‘Russify’ the country. Putin, greatly nostalgic for Soviet imperial power, wants to once again dominate a republic that aspires to maintain its independence. Since Russia has no manufactures or technology to export (except weapons or raw materials), it exports chaos.

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