CONTRARY BRIN: Putin’s real plan

 The ideology of Putinism is quite eclectic; in it, respect for the Soviet lies side by side with feudal ethics, Lenin sharing a bed with Tsarist Russia and Russian Orthodox Christianity.”

 Vladimir Sorokin, author of Day of the Oprichnikjust after the beginning of the Russo-Ukraine War.

Things are going badly for poor Vlad Putin. What had been viewed by all as the “second greatest armed force in the world” is now the second-best in Ukraine

Moreover, Putin’s nightmare — (he rants about the 1917 Soldier’s Rebellion endlessly) — is that fed-up RF troops might leave their death-trap trenches and turn toward Moscow, leaving his remaining loyal forces to be the ‘second best army in Russia.’ 

That fear was presaged eerily when Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group swiftly took Rostov and sped toward the Kremlin, halted only by fancy negotiations and Putin vowing total forgiveness. Vows that only a special kind of stupidity would believe, as we’ve seen in Prigozhin’s recent demise.

Meanwhile, we now see almost daily events inside Russian territory that reveal both homegrown resistance and savvy Ukrainian special ops, increasingly operating with virtual impunity, adding one more factor to VP’s dread of battlefield reversals and plummeting RF troop morale.

Let me be clear. I have great respect for Russian people and culture. My grandfather fought at the Battle of Mukden and carried a spear in the Moscow Opera. We were beautifully hosted (with nifty awards) by the Russian national science fiction convention, some years back. Indeed, my story “The Logs” is a tribute to that folk’s legendary endurance in the face of oppression, gulags and all kinds of suffering. One fond hope –  by millions of us on the outside – is that Russia will at last arrive upon an era of sanity, freedom, prosperity and peace…

…after departing Ukraine. And taking all the landmines with them.

         == But one thing has to stop ==

Still, I must tell you that there can be no forgiving the clade of 5000 ‘ex’ commissars, who spent their formative years chanting Leninist catechisms five times daily, while plotting against America and the West from the bowels of the KGB… 

…who then, starting in 1991, simply switched a few symbols – from hammer-sickles to orthodox crosses. They re-labeled the KGB and then resumed exactly the same plotting, the same methods, with the same agents, from the same buildings…

… with just one palpable difference. From 1917 to 1991, their top aim had been to lure-in the U.S. left… and they failed utterly. (The most anti-communist force in American life was always the AFL-CIO; wager me on that!) 

But by flipping a few symbols – erecting statues to the monstrous Nicholas II, for example – and applying copious blackmail, those ‘former’ commissars, now-mafiosi, proceeded rapidly to take over almost the entire American right.

The same guys, plotting the same plots, with the same agents and methods, from the same buildings… are suddenly the darlings of Fox and Trump and MAGA and the world plutocrat oligarchy. Go figure.

Oh, it didn’t happen without help. Horrendously corrupt and treasonous help! See below for several reasons why our own oligarchs have every motive to do whatever Vlad asks.

Yet, it depresses me that there’s no concerted effort to reach out to at least some U.S. conservatives with this irony. That the ‘ex’ commissars they are now fox-talked into loving are the very same guys whom they used to fear and loathe! Now with a little slapped-on paint. Hey, it’s even still red!

    == If only our own leaders heeded advice ==

Old Vlad’s mind-set might be best understood by reading Vladimir Sorokin’s short sci fi dystopia novel Day of the Oprichnik. A warning to us that almost everyone in the West ignores, even after the Ukraine invasion… but that has become the Grand Plan manual for a would-be czar.

Just after Putin launched his supposedly ‘three day special military operation,’ Sorokin wrote a volcanically erudite denunciation in the Guardian

If you listen to Putin’s speech announcing a “special operation”, America and NATO are mentioned more than Ukraine. Let us also recall his recent “ultimatum” to NATO. As such, his goal isn’t Ukraine, but western civilization, the hatred for which he lapped up in the black milk he drank from the KGB’s teat.

“Who’s to blame? Us. Russians. And we’ll now have to bear this guilt until Putin’s regime collapses. For it surely will collapse and the attack on a free Ukraine is the beginning of the end.”

Alas, our own leaders, while they are mostly the Good Guys now, are also dunces at the use of eviscerating polemic. (One reason that I wrote Polemical Judo, an apparently futile effort to offer fresh tactics.) There are so many polemics that might penetrate effectively, even through Putin’s media-controlling Irony Curtain. 

Alas, originality is not in the playing hand of the goodguys, nowadays.

That lack could wind up ruining us all.

And hence, let me conclude by reiterating a few important points.

       == Understand the devil that you face ==

The younger Putin at least saw himself as part of a movement to end millennia of wretched rule by kings and feudal lords. Lenin and Stalin were not just utterly mistaken, but ruthlessly rationalized so many horrors. Still, at least the younger Putin envisioned himself as part of some kind of utopian project. 

His later version aims only to become the futurist Ivan-the-Terrible portrayed in Sorokin’s novel. And, like so many other boringly banal/predictable tyrants, he rationalizes that we, in the Enlightenment Experiment, haven’t the guts to stand up for humanity’s future. 

Oh, there’s a lot more going on in Putin’s skull than fear of “color revolutions” for democracy! You can see signs everywhere – in the absurd-kitsch Romanov escutcheons always visible behind him. In his imperial airs and russo-mysticism. And especially in his repeated rants about the ‘calamity of 1917,’ the last time that fed-up Russian soldiers rebelled and marched on Moscow.  

I mentioned his fetish of erecting statues all over Russia to Czars like Nicholas II, the last bearer of such symbols and an implied godly Right to Rule. The same microcephalic/brutal Nicholas II who, with his idiot Kaiser cousin, plunged a till-then hopeful 20th Century into unprecedented pits of utter hell.

I find it stunning that no one out there deems any of that interesting, let-alone fantastically-telling! That a formerly fervent communist who called the collapse of the USSR “history’s greatest tragedy” would then – along with 500 or so fellow “ex” commissars – use czarist imagery and a relabeled-but-unaltered KGB (and Cheney-clan backing) to rebuild the Boyar Pyramid and romanticize the very forces of crazed, blood-aristocratism that his former idols executed, a century ago. 

And all that without anyone even murmuring the word “hypocrite!”

The fact that no one in the west calls this out… not even trying to use any of it to slap-awake those few MAGAs who retain some residual neural activity… is an astonishing case of historical blindness by our side’s punditry caste. And polemical insipidity.

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