Editorial At some point, Russia will have to take a break from the past

Official Russia argues that the goal of the attack on Ukraine is denacsification, but really Russia itself needs destalization.

Russian director Vladimir Putin decided on Friday to talk about JK Rowling, the children’s author who created the Harry Potter series. Critics of Rowling have considered the author’s comments about sex transgressive and called for a boycott of his production.

In his speech to young cultural figures, Putin raised Rowling’s example of the so-called cancel culture, which Putin said is common in the West. Admittedly, Rowling was just a stick horse for Putin, which he claimed the West was now using to “cancel” Russia and discriminate against everything from the Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

There is a lot of discussion in the West about the so-called cancel culture, as Putin clearly knows. In open societies, the search for the limits of tolerable speech and tolerance of different views is public and loud.

However, even on his own scale, Putin’s speech was a brazen, cruel Russia’s brutal and destructive war of aggression in Ukraine. The Russian leadership will not tolerate the slightest criticism and will try to rivet its opponents. Last week, a court sentenced Alexei Navalny, another opposition politician who survived the poisoning, to another prison sentence. The regime has persecuted minorities, imprisoned people for fictitious reasons and killed its opponents. On Monday, Russia’s last independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, said it was suspending operations.

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Putin’s allegations of discrimination against all Russians are also nonsense. In Helsinki, the National Ballet will start performing Tchaikovsky next week Swan pond.

Putin the speech was aimed at the home audience. He wants it to believe that the West wants evil for all Russians. Russia’s defense ministry said on Friday the war in Ukraine went exactly as planned and reiterated its legitimacy.

The administration is now emphasizing this, as the sanctions imposed by the West are on all Russians. They have already collapsed the Russian economy.

Putin is not Russia. The Russians did not vote for the war. Still, it can be said that most Russians are now paying dearly for their great-power nostalgia and the silence they followed when Putin took his country from soft authoritarianism first to autocracy and then to aggression and quickly toward totalitarianism.

Part of the apathy has been explained by fear, as resistance has been dangerous. However, some have been explained by indifference and at least passive support for Putin.

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A significant number of Russians also seem to be in favor of an attack on Ukraine, although there are no reliable measurements. It is only partly explained by propaganda.

Saturday In a speech in Warsaw, U.S. President Joe Biden said Putin “cannot stay in power”. He was criticized for that, unlike Putin, Biden is supposed to be rational. Admittedly, the comment hardly has an effect. Putin has long believed that Western leadership thinks so.

At some point, Putin will no longer be in power. And at some point, Russia faces a painful process: Russia should understand that the country is not a proud and infallible hero sacrifice. Official Russia argues that the goal of the attack on Ukraine is denacsification, but really Russia itself needs distalization and detachment from the past.

Russia is traumatized by the loss of its superpower status. The country is tormented by the “curse of natural resources” when vast natural resources allow reforms to be avoided and direct power to concentrate. Russia’s history is marked by loneliness and the weakness of civil society. All of this makes accounting more difficult, but not impossible. Russia must do it for itself.

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The editorials are HS’s statements on a topical issue. The writings are prepared by HS’s editorial staff and reflect the magazine principle.

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