Here’s part of what the Russian dictator recently told journalist Masha Gessen in a private interview recently published by the Russian website Bolshoi Gorod:
Это как с амфорами. Потом все начали кричать, что амфоры были подложены. Ну конечно, они были подложены! — он засмеялся над идиотами, которые вообще могли подумать, что это не так. — Но я же зачем нырял? Не для того, чтобы жабры раздувать, а чтобы люди знали свою историю. Вот даже вы, наверное, с вашим образованием, не знаете, что там, в этом месте, раньше был каганат, что степные народы приняли иудаизм. А потом все начали писать, что я, как мудак, достал подложенные амфоры. Но кто-то же начал читать!
“It’s like what happened with the amphorae. When the pictures came out, they all started shouting that amphorae were planted. Of course, they were planted!” He laughed at the idiots who might have thought it could have been otherwise. “But what was the reason for my dive? Not to give my lungs a workout, but to help the people of our country learn their history. I suspect that even you, with your lofty education, were not aware that in that location there used to be a khanate and that the steppe peoples converted to Judaism. But they ignored all this, and depicted me as some kind of asshole who went around planting amphorae to trick people. But meanwhile, the Russian people started reading their history!”
If this were any other world leader besides Putin, it would be hard to believe these statements were actually made. But anyone familiar with Putin doesn’t even have to see his name in text in order to immediately recognize the speaker.
Putin is now so immune from accountability that he simply doesn’t care what he says or who hears him. He feels perfectly comfortable openly admitting that he repeatedly lies to his fellow citizens, and equally at ease using the course language of the street thug he used to be. His contempt for his fellow citizens is palpable. He believes the only way they can be educated is with trickery and deceit, the way a person might hide medicine in her dog’s food dish.
What other brazen lies has Putin told his fellow citizens? How can he believe that Russia, any more than the USSR, can survive as a nation when its very foundation is based on falsehood? Rusia’s roads are getting more dangerous by the day, and Putin’s response is to launch a neo-Stalinist purge of the Duma. Instead of developing policy, he develops lies and strategies to liquidate anyone who confronts him about them.
Nothing else could have been expected from handing unchecked power to a proud KGB spy. If Russia repeats the mistakes of the past, it will repeat the pain of the past.