The Putin Mystique

The Putin Mystique The Putin Mystique Takes The Reader On A Journey Through The Russia Of Vladimir Putin, Named By Forbes Magazine In As The Most Powerful Man In The World It Is A Neo Feudal World Where IPads, WTO Membership, And Brioni Business Suits Conceal A Power Structure Straight Out Of The Middle Ages, Where The Sovereign Is Perceived As Both Divine And Demonic, Where A Man S Riches Are Determined By His Proximity To The Kremlin, And Where Large Swathes Of The Populace Live In Precarious Complacency Interrupted By Bouts Of Revolt Where Does That Kind Of Power Come From The Answer Lies Not In The Leader, But In The People From The Impoverished Worker Who Appeals Directly To Putin For Aid, To The Businessmen, Security Officers And Officials In Putin S Often Dysfunctional Government Who Look To Their Leader For Instruction And Protection About The Author Anna Arutunyan S Work Has Appeared In USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Nation, Foreign Policy In Focus, And The Moscow News, Where She Is An Editor And Senior Correspondent She Is Author Of The Media In Russia McGraw Hill And Is The Co Author With Vladimir Shlapentokh Of Freedom, Repression And Private Property In Russia Cambridge University Press, She Has Lectured On Russian Power, Politics And Media At Tampere University In Finland And At Michigan State University A Bilingual Russian American, She Was Born In The Soviet Union In But Grew Up And Received Her Education In The United States In She Returned To Moscow To Write About Russia Anna Arutunyan Lives In Moscow With Her Husband And Daughter

Anna Arutunyan is a Russian American journalist and the author of The Putin Mystique She is currently a fellow at the Kennan Institute in Washington.Anna Arutunyan s work has appeared in USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Nation, Foreign Policy in Focus, and The Moscow News, where she is an editor and senior correspondent She is author of The Media in Russia McGraw Hill, 2009 , and

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  • The Putin Mystique
  • Anna Arutunyan
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  • 10 August 2018

10 thoughts on “The Putin Mystique

  1. says:

    Arutunyan writes not from a Western worldview, not mirroring, when she analyzes Russia s relationship with Vladimir Putin Amen She does not instinctively deride him as we do in the West where his style repels most of us paying attention Although we have no use for him here, it seems they do there She is intimidated by Putin, wary, yet resigned to his fit with Russia at this point in time Russia is a vast continent of isolated, rather than communal, people which can and does result in authoritarianism in leadership She also moves along her thesis that Russians get what they want deserve in leadership as painful as it may seem to us on the outside Arutunyan describes a feudal, fragmented land reliant upon an ages old tradition of vassals offering themselves up to God and Tsar not necessarily in that order This book advanced my understanding of Putin, who wields power in some sort of concert with a cabal of very powerful men helps explain his recent disappearance , and the invasion of Eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea Ukraine is naturally Russian, his subjects needed a grand action to rally around and Ukraine must never join NATO I think I finally get it.

  2. says:

    A manager at work we were doing some idiotic back and forth trash talk shushed me in public Teasing him, I had said that the island of Malta had been first settled by English retards He was Maltese These days, no one likes to hear the word retard It was lame, I know, but I retorted with a shout, Shut up, this ain t Russia And standing directly behind me was a Russian emigrant, new to the country, who took offence at my reckless clich However, whether naive or not, he knew exactly to what I referred, that by worldwide reputation alone, even from the old USSR days, you couldn t any voice your opinion in Russia than get a fresh loaf of bread from a government grocery store I immediately apologized for my deleterious remark and offered my hand Which he took He seemed placated, if not bemused no, I m not saying he was an idiot, but the truth is, in Russia today, it is as dangerous to speak your mind as it was back in the USSR, maybe even so, certainly tricky Where did he get the idea that I was misrepresenting the reputation of Russia s culture Freedom of the press, the right to assembly, the liberty to political free speech and individual property rights are all gone And my very own angry Russian emigrant was too dumb or illiterate to know it, or he had unfounded and inexcusable nationalistic pride in his unsuccessful society Nationalism does that It makes you think in racist requisites Russian better than Georgian, straight better than gay, male better than female, Christian better than Muslim This is what you are morally permitted to say about your genetic heritage, I am proud that I am Somali, Syrian or whoever We re the best people in the world Sure, and everybody has the greatest doctor What is unacceptable to say as person from a failed country, is, We re the best nation in the world That s like a Moslem or a Christian saying they re the only true religion And BTW, Americans should stop saying it as well Like England, France, Ghana, Costa Rica, or Japan, they can say something like, We are one of the greatest nations in the world and have proof with verifiable statistical facts the bonafides And they could even explain why, but stop bragging that you re the best it s annoying, Any nation who has to keep saying that they re the best are not the best American politicians actually mean, We rule an empire and you don t So shut up Well, anyway, as regards Russia, it is not like those rights were ever there Western liberties I mean not for the Autocrats , Marxists nor Reformists Russia has never known any real freedom or democracy Indeed, it may well be the least democratic place in the world Not the ghost of freedom exists today As I will explain in the plainest language, Russia is little than a Mafia state with the homophobic Putin as the not so likeable Tony Soprano, ruling like both the Tsar and a don, and you re not getting any special favours on the wedding day of his daughters in fact, he s divorced and you re not invited Although not exactly book reviews, this article is chiefly concerned with six excellent and diverse books as sources Darkness at Dawn, D Satter, The Putin Mystique, A Arutunyan, Strongman, A Roxburgh, The Man Without a Face, M Geesen, The New Nobility, A Soldatov and Putin s Kleptocracy, K Dawisha These works, and others, are all in general accord the Putin regime runs a criminal state.One of the first jobs of thugs is to convince people that they aren t bandits, that they re marketers and their civil concerns are for the people and that they re like regular folks, only with testosterone It s what philosophers say of the ethical disingenuous The appearance of morality is the price paid by hypocrites to look good to the ones they can fool So, one of the first jobs of the gangster class is to corrupt the police while appearing to the public to root out corruption from this very source You do this by destroying the whistle blowers In the old gulag system, you jailed the dissidents, i.e the moral leaders of the country , now in present day Russia you get the free marketers for tax evasion, throw them in prison and steal their property it s win, win, win Anybody who reports it, journalists, accountants or lawyers , are going to prison for not having the paper work done for the paper clips they claimed on their tax forms.The World Bank publishes an annual survey in which it ranks 183 countries of the world according to ease of doing business In 2011 Russia came in at 123 far behind other post Soviet states such as Georgia at 19 and Kyrgyzstan at 44 In terms of dealing with construction permits Russia sits in 182nd place, ahead only of Eritrea Dahlgren IKEA s Russia manager, Lennart Dahlgren, came to Moscow in 1998 and stayed for eight years, battling with the authorities to open the first IKEA stores and Mega malls He has since written his memoirs, Despite Absurdity wanted to arrange a meeting for IKEA s owner one of the wealthiest people in the world, and a man with great enthusiasm for doing business in Russia with Putin At first they palmed him off with meetings with a deputy prime minister Then Dahlgren had an opportunity to discuss the proposal with someone from Putin s entourage, who told him they didn t think IKEA would really want to have a meeting with Putin Dahlgren writes I don t know whether they meant it seriously or as a joke, but they said IKEA is penny pinching, and the going rate for a meeting with Putin is 5 to 10 million dollars, which you will never pay Quoted from, Strongman see also the Corruption Index Today the lack of reliable contract law, unenforced and without an independent judiciary, has left Russia a complete gangster nation, and not like those American rappers sing about, but one that tens of millions of suffering Russians have to live with day in and out For this part see Putin s Kleptocracy The Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti, FSB Federal Security Service had grown out of the KGB, Yeltsin had broken the KGB up and pit tax, communicate and security divisions against each other to help dismantle it, or at least in part to lessen its totalitarian power, but after consolidating his control, Putin has reunited them into the general security framework under the FSB or other agencies with no independence but to the executive For this part, see, Darkness at Dawn and The New Nobility Perhaps the most obvious and reactionary of all of Putin s draconian measures, has been shutting down any and all independent news organizations If this proved to be ineffective to shut up journalists, internal detractors or opposition politicians, he has had his critics imprisoned or permanently silenced They don t really even much hide it He is personally, but indirectly linked to the murders of Anna Politkovskaya, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Sergei Yushenkov, Anatoly Sobchak and Alexander Litvinenko See, List of Journalists killed murdered in Russia Under Putin s rule there have been 30 to 35 apparent politically motivated murders of journalists For this part of the story see, The Man Without a Face.Now as for the supreme leader with insatiable greed That is the biggest question In a classical, absolutist monarchy, their chief patron would have been the sovereign, their king and country which would have been the same thing But Putin s Russia, which has many of the trappings of an absolutist monarchy, refuses to see itself as such The scholar Lilia Shevtsova has underlined the contradictions that this presents Putin has preserved personified and undivided power, she writes However, describing Yeltsin s rule as elected monarchy she applies the same metaphor to Putin s rule, accenting the contradictions between personified power and the elective method of legitimizing it A maddening dissonance ensues Putin had a theoretical option of building a responsible system of governance based not my italics on the irrational and mystic power embodied in the leader but on the rule of law But he either could not, or would not do so Those words were written in 2004 by 2013 that dissonance has only grown, amid contradictory laws that fail to work and Putin s constant calls to fight corruption Why, despite yearly orders from Putin his personal orders, harsh, determined and ominous does corruption only grow Quoted from, The Putin Mystique Now, I am than happy to answer this question for everyone It isn t just Putin s hidden assets, no, not the 40 to 70 billion dollars, making him one of the richest people in the world, which it is claimed he has amassed through old fashioned brass knuckled theft It s something that is hard for the North American or Western European democrat to really understand It s the tragic fault in the Russians themselves To them, liberty is license, a free market is usually dangerous entirely unfeasible, the press are myth makers even outright liberal liars, and having sacrosanct private property rights are downright impossible in a country like Russia Justice is with the Tsar, the motherland, the state itself uberman, Uncle Joe or Putin, the Boss For example, here s some sense of how long in modern history there has been little perceived freedom When it comes to this, all men are created equal, except Negroes, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy Abraham Lincoln 1855 Quote taken from, The Putin Mystique So you see, they ve been without freedom for some time, and in fact, the society itself does not give it the same value as in the West Yes Marxist terrorists hijacked a thriving modern industrialized state, but the Tsarist regime was as ridiculous on its face with serfdom as the communist one was with their countrywide gulag slave system People went marching to their sentences at the direction of a monarch s clerk or a Bolshevik s commissar like the Jews at the direction of a Nazi official What s to say to this Idea and Culture are intimately connected and some cultures are impeded compared to the top democracies, and many failed states call themselves democracies, but of course, this is pure piffle Yes, you nationalists from failed or failing countries, like my very own angry Russian emigrant, it has got nothing to do with blood It is brains alone that count it s how one organizes society, the proper protection of human rights, an independent judicial branch of government, the separation of powers, free elections and all those splendid creations of the democracies throughout history, despite its many intellectual enemies like Putin, the KGB and the Marxists, of course, the Religionists are right up there at the top as bitter foes to liberty as well.In the decade of Putin, the FSB has portrayed themselves in propaganda films like The Special Department as they wanted themselves to be seen, see, The New Nobility , just as the CIA does in America Behind the FSB s rapid growth of power with the ascension of Putin, they have been just as ineffective at fighting terrorism as the CIA And in regards to upholding an independent judiciary, curbing the mafia state rising right underneath their feet or bringing real culprits to justice, they have utterly failed, as the KGB did before them They are lap dogs, a whitewash to Putin s tarnished throne They have become another arm of the bandit state, but don t say, Poor pitiful Russia Nobody is free without effort The Russian masses romantic attraction to the state is deplorable and always has been The people have quietly marched to their passing in absolutely frightening numbers, either with demise by alcoholism or death by authoritarianism Shame on the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian Nationalists and the Russian Communists, all preaching against democracy like an Iranian Ayatollah The Great Satan be damned There is a person for this epithet and his name is Vladimir Putin, and never forget that germ of truth from that old Russian saw, Half the population is behind bars and the other half are guarding them For the than 50 links to sources, see,

  3. says:

    En mycket intressant bok av en rysk journalist, Anna Arutunyan Den st rsta majoriteten av h ndelserna som Arutunyan beskriver i hennes bok, gde rum under Putins epoken Om ven boken heter Tsar Putin, r Putin inte ett huvud mne i boken Den viktigaste fr gan i boken r den ok nda ryska mentaliteten, korruption och symboliska r dslan f r en h rskare som historiskt utvecklades sedan Ivan den F rskr ckligares tider Hon dyker djupt i s dana mnen som ryska traditioner, historiska attityden till makten och geopolitiska situationen av det st rsta landet p jordklotet Jag var redan i Sverige n r dem st rsta politiska h ndelserna skedde, som r tteg ngar mot Chodorkovskij, demonstrationer inf r valet 2012, f ngslandet av Navalnij, etc fram till annekteringen av Krim i 2014 Eftersom i stort s tt l ste jag om ryska politiken i v steuropeiska median, som alltid f rgade Ryssland svart, ville jag h ra ryska r ster och l sa beskrivningen om dem ovan n mnda h delserna fr n den ryska intelligentia f r att f mera nyanser i den ryska politiska historian Det r en del som klagade p Arutunyans spr k Jag l ste boken p svenska och hade absolut inga problem med hennes spr k Jag tycker att vers ttningen till svenska r gjort mycket bra och boken r l ttl st Hon anv nder journalistiskt spr k, inte rent f rfattarens stil Men det faktumet g r inte boken mindre intressant

  4. says:

    A Moscow based Russian born journalist who was raised and educated in the States, Anna Arutunyan seems unusually well placed to interpret Putin s mystique in a way that Western readers can readily grasp Although this book contains some fascinating information if you are prepared to make the effort to glean it, I was disappointed to find that the disjointed journalese makes for an often confusing and laborious read.We are familiar with photographs of a macho Putin displaying his muscular torso as he rides on horseback through the wilderness, or wades in a river to catch salmon, of him diving in the Black Sea to retrieve ancient Greek urns in what proved to be a staged stunt, or co piloting a plane to dump gallons of water to extinguish a forest fire This personality cult which began in around 2001 is partly a top down process of which Anna Arutanin provides further examples Kremlin ideologist Surkov s organised demonstrations of support by the activist youth group Nashi whose members were rewarded with payment or career opportunities the elaborate charade in which Putin showed his concern for alumina factory workers demanding their pay by berating on film the oligarch Deripaska who had halted production at their workplace This included forcing him to sign a probably fake contract and even throwing a pen at him, for which humiliation Deripaska was compensated by some massive monetary bail outs The author also identifies spontaneous actions with commerce in mind, such as the pin up calendar showing the twelve moods of Putin or the erotic calendar of obligingly posed girls presented to him for his birthday Having been groomed by the oligarch Berezovsky to take over as a President who would provide some stability and order after the chaos of Yeltsin s regime, Putin adapted readily to mirror the kind leader many Russians wanted to look up to.The Russians have a history of developing a cult round their leaders as a means of keeping control in a vast, often harsh land of scattered and ethnically diverse people Russia may never have had the close knit communities that foster democracy and legal institutions So, we see the persistence of a patrimonial rather than a legal rational state The Tsars were often venerated like gods, with their subjects literally prostrating themselves in their presence the Stalinist cult was developed by his inner Bolshevik circle before spilling out in a nationwide adulation which in a form of doublethink was not incompatible with viewing him as a bloody tyrant.This book was published too late to cover the shocking murder of the charismatic Boris Nemtsov, but the failure to analyse the recent annexation of the Crimea and the issues raised by the poisoning of Litvinenko, along with the murder of a number of investigative journalists critical of the regime, are glaring omissions Perhaps there are boundaries the author prefers not to cross although her portrayal of Putin is negative, precise accusations of a serious nature are avoided and charges often veiled It is suggested, for instance, that widespread financial corruption and human rights violations are often beyond Putin s control, despite the myth of his omnipotence , because they are conducted by people on whom he depends to keep order as in the case of the Chechnyan strongman Ramzan Kadyrov In reporting recent middle class protests against Putin s corrupt, authoritarian and self serving regime , the author suggests that Putin s opponent, rising star Navalny has himself shown signs of developing a personality cult, including an aggressive stance and the favouring of questions from supporters, as if this somehow weakens criticisms of the Putin mystique.One of Putin s reactions to the recent backlash has been to align himself closely with the Church, a respected institution since its recent revival This may explain the harsh crackdown on Pussy Riot , the girl band who performed their blasphemous anti Putin ditty in a Moscow Cathedral.

  5. says:

    Wasn t exactly what I had thought it would be about, but it was an interesting read I wish it had focused on Putin himself, instead of the people in the FSB and commoners Surkov was the only staff from Putin s administration that it really mentioned in depth I did enjoy the insight into Putin s personality, I liked how they described the scenes of seeing Putin in person, and Putin s reactions to different events The last sentence made me snort, The Russian is in many ways rather alone, gazing upwards, willingly giving up his powers to a higher being that he looks to for answers, because finding answers alone is too difficult Overall, a good read I would recommend

  6. says:

    Deras verkliga besvikelse tycktes vara misslyckandet att knyta an till andra ryssar, att bygga den typ av samh llen som de har sett i Europa, och likt dekabristerna i sitt uppror mot tsaren 1825, riktade de sin frustration mot Putin Ryssland st lldes terigen inf r samma pl gsamma val despotism eller revolution och varken suver nen eller folket verkade ha styrkan att leta efter alternativ Hade f ga f rhoppningar att denna bok skulle leda n gonstans efter att ha l st den f rsta delen N r vi n tt mitten och slutligen gick in i tredje avsnittet blev den riktigt intressant Aruntunyan tar sig an Ryssland ur en vinkel som nnu var outforskad f r min egen del, n mligen myten om Ryssland som ett tsard me ven i modern tid Att Putin r att se som en suver n och n got jag sj lv har utforskat, huruvida denna legitimitet karakt riseras av det personliga styret.Det som var framf rallt intressant r dels de diskussioner som tas upp g llande korruptionen och huruvida de inte kan anses som n got som tillf r stabilitet till systemet och dels den vergripande skildringen mellan det f rfattaren refererar till som zakon den skrivna och ponjatinja oskrivna regler och hur de manipuleras till f rdel f r Kreml p ett flertal plan Ett antal l rdomar v rda att ta med, definitivt.

  7. says:

    Bottoms Up The fault, dear Brutus is not in the stars but in ourselves Julius CaesarAnna Arutunyan s Putin Mystique is unusual because it does not dwell on top down stories of Putin s actions, but on bottom up historical and cultural pressures that explain the underlying affection of Russians for Putin and other authoritarian leaders Combining journalism contemporary with historical and cultural analysis makes this book accessible, unusual and involving It takes a few chapters to hit stride, but once you get where she is coming from the ride becomes worth the read Once you see how the actions taken at the top reflect needs within the Russian people, you realise she is on to something big.It seems the Russians are so divided by the size of their land, and disparate personal objectives, that the move to authoritarianism and collectivism becomes inevitable There is no law by contract, but only submission There is freedom to roam but no obligation from the powerful to reciprocate So different from Europe as Marx contended , Russians seem to demand authoritarian leaders like Putin.The Tsar links the faith to the state in a way that never existed in the West, and Putin has embraced the Orthodox church which supports him slavishly to its shame.In the last few chapters, written at the end of 2013, she speculates on Alexander Navalny, then the new challenger on the horizon, and wonders what Putin would do next to stay popular The answer was, invade Ukraine, take Crimera, kill Navalny and try to annex Eastern Ukraine Could anyone have guessed This is a compelling, unusual read that bares its teeth slowly but once bared, changes your point of view.

  8. says:

    Time has come to read up, fast, about Russia, her ruler and her politics And try to make some sense of all things that are going on for some months and went for years before many of as started paying any attention Putin Mystique is useful and good read in at least two senses at the same time First it is quite recent, with present edition finished in November of last year.Second and important it is its idea and scope Call it woman approach, intuition or simply thoughtfulness Arutunyan put affairs, scandals and crimes of Putin era into much needed context of deeper ideas, often unreflected by actors themselves, which forms the very ideas of power, rule, state and forms of government in Russia It seems that especially in Russia strictly and exclusively rational analysis of political developments take us only thus far not to talk about that in recent times we moved in this on whole new level which only wait for book to be written about it Although this innovative, interesting and much needed aspect of this book is worth of praise and special mention Arutunyan also shows a and put to good use her considerable journalist skills in telling many stories of Putin era and their actors great and small but no less interesting or important from forrest fires to failing industrial plants, from opposition protests to rigged electionto few close encounters with ruler himself All in all very good and recommended read.

  9. says:

    It was well thought out book I really enjoyed reading it as in my opinion the writing is a mix of publicistic and academic style and the writer took the best parts of both approaches Although some people may find lack of theory based analysis of some of Putin s action but the book itself reveals many interesting details about not only about Putin s regime but also about Russian politics in general It is really worth reading if you take interest in Russia or and Putin.

  10. says:

    If Arutunyan is anywhere near right about the near current state of Russian politics, economy and culture especially religious , this assessment should give the rest of the world reason to step back and reconsider That is, reconsider before it tries to even comprehend, much less respond to the person and persona of Putin The sheer breadth of corruption in law, business and politics is jaw dropping.

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