Vladimir Putin’s performance of late has been so odious, so noxious, so repellent that even hardcore Russophiles are turning away in disgust.
Take the bitter, poisonous anti-Putin diatribe that recently issued from the pen of Vladimir Frolov, once one of Putin’s most ardent brown-nosers. Frolov begins: “Perhaps a true measure of rulers’ distrust of their people is when they choose to be more frank with foreigners and rush to tell them what they are not in a hurry to communicate to their fellow citizens.” And then he gets nasty, condemning Putin’s conduct at the recent Valdai forum propaganda festival as a insult to the people of Russia.
But we rise to defend Mr. Putin! Distrust of the Russian people — indeed, contempt for them — is a theme that runs consistently throughout Russian history. And why shouldn’t Putin have contempt for the people of Russia?