Letter From the Editors: Oct. 30-Nov. 13, 2017

Author: Xenia Grushetsky

‘God keep you from them, and from such false friends.

The above words, spoken by Richard III in Shakespeare’s eponymous play, are an ironic prophecy, since it is Richard III who ends up being the betrayer. Shakespeare’s astute insight into the darker corridors of the human psyche would have made him a brilliant political adviser today - one who could give Vladislav Surkov a run for his money, perhaps. The Kremlin’s young gray cardinal and author of the notorious concept of "sovereign democracy" (i.e., don’t tell us what to do, America) has fallen out of favor after that concept did not gel with the Russian political establishment. According to Grigory Golosov, "sovereign democracy" was indeed Surkov’s undoing. Now, the strategist is hoping to win back his lost ground by unmasking Western duplicity in an article titled "The Crisis of Hypocrisy." It basically positions Putin as a prototype for a King of the West, who will lead the confused masses out of chaos and into greatness.

Indeed, exporting Putin is seemingly becoming the cornerstone of the latter’s reelection campaign, writes Tatyana Stanovaya. After NHL star Alexander Ovechkin called for the creation of the Putin Team - "a new social movement aimed at showing support for the Russian president in his reelection bid" - other NHL greats like Vyacheslav Fetisov and Pavel Bure joined the team. According to Stanovaya, how he is perceived in the West is an extremely sensitive subject for Putin, since he operates on the assumption that "the Russian president embodies exactly the kind of political leadership that Western societies need." So Surkov’s article may have just hit the nail on the head - just like Richard III, Putin dreams of being king. If "exporting Putin" does end up being the end game of the reelection campaign, we are in for a propaganda war of epic proportions.

Like generals who are always ...

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