It occurs to me that the only reason Putin has any admirers is because he behaves as how a Western leader would a 100 years ago - assertive, nationalistic ,imperialistic and charismatic.
Social conservatives in the West are understandably impressed with his Russian Orthodox inspired stance against the propagation of homosexuality and aberrant values which undermine bourgeois morality. Curiously these same conservatives particularly in America were virulently anti Russian 30 years ago as the latter were viewed as amoral communists out to undermine Western Christendom.
To be clear, I don't begrudge Russians for admiring Putin. It is natural for them to crave respect rather ridicule and degradation which is what occurred in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse and despair of Russian society. You had respectable grandmothers selling their family heirlooms on the street, wholesome mild mannered boys were reduced to thuggery and beautiful, sweet natured girls who should be going to college and practicing ballet took to selling their bodies all across the world so much so the word Russian in places as varied as Dubai and Berlin became synonymous with prostitute.
This of course is what occurs when a country is defeated. And it was a good thing that the Soviets were defeated and Reagan should a Nobel Peace Prize for it(but he wont). The Soviets were monsters and they had it coming. It is unfortunate the Russian people paid the price but that is collateral damage for you.
The salt on their wounds was the installation of Boris Yelstin- a fat,buffoonish drunk as President who had come to typify Russian fecklessness and incompetence in the post Cold War era.
Enter Vladmir Putin via some false flag bombings attributed to Chechens. At this point even false flags skeptics like me would say "oh come on that is just so obvious" . I wonder why an admirer of Putin and a false flag conspiracy enthusiast doesn't bring this up in his Putin worship..oh never mind.
The sleek well dressed judo champion and outdoor enthusiast Vladmir Putin projected a welcome image of strength, serenity ,dignity ,stoicism and resolve. A polar opposite of the drunken, buffoonish polar bear look alike Boris Yelstin. This came as a relief and point of pride for Russian people. I remember when Putin came to power when I was in college in U.S and had a Russian friend who was doing his PhD in Material Sciences and Mechanics who lived in the same boarding house as me. We would often liquor up in the evening chatting about whatever came to our mind. As you may guessed he was incredibly intelligent not just in his science and tech field but also had sound knowledge of Russian European, Chinese and Middle Eastern history, classical music specifically the great Russians and Austrians composers, Renaissance paintings not to mention the great filmmakers such Tarkovsky and DW Griffith. And this guy , THIS GUY loved Putin. You would expect such an enlightened individual to go for a dovish leader but that would be misreading the Russian people in particular and humanity in general.
People if given half a chance would like to be associated with assertion of power so they can live vicariously through their leaders and derive the status that emanates from such displays.
Of course that is not the case with all people who believe that they had enough of applications of force. Hence the war weary Americans elected an effeminate ,glib and spineless Obama and the only Sikh that Indians put in high office was not the tought KPS Gill but the pencil neck Manmohan Singh. So when atrocities like 26/11 occurred and Indians REELECTED the same government who not only allowed for such lapses in intelligence(the NSA was busy dealing the LTTE who weren't a threat since the early 90s) and failed to punish the sponsoring nation of Pakistan appropriately I lost interest in all national security matters. There is nothing but heartache when one reads of Indian debacles during that administration.
Putin to be sure CRUSHED the Chechen rebellion. An amazing and unprecedented act. Imagine the ferocity of Pathan combined with tactics,organization and daring of the LTTE and then add the cohesion and ideological morale of Hezbollah and you have an idea of the Chechen rebels were like.
It alo helped that unlike Israel in Southern Lebanon and Americans in Iraq and Sri Lankans pre Rajapaksha, the Russians simply couldn't be bothered with caring about civilian casualties. Indeed that may have been even the aim. An untold number(possibly a third) of military age men were killed in the Chechen wars. The end result which a clownish Chechen version of Yelstin was installed as Putins personal sock puppet through whom he would keep a close eye on the troublesome Chechens.
A wise man once said that politicans are like women, watch what they do , not what they say. Well I would say that the general public is also like a woman. Just as women CLAIM they want decent ,respectable,kind gentleman and yet quickly throw themselves at an attractive, self confident and assertive tough so too the public which crows about human rights in Palestine, Iraq etc due to good natured bungling by Israeli and American governments suddenly falls in love with Vladmir Putin who unapologetically slaughters anyone who comes in his way.
Putin contrary to what some conspiracy prone fan boys claim is not an anti Semite. He has a very cosy relationship with Israel(sorry captain). And he is supported by all the major Rabbis in Russia. His crusade against billionaire Jewish oligarchs was mostly stemmed from the fact that he wanted their riches for himself. Not due to any anti Jewish animus.
To be sure, there are a great number of American Jews in the media and academia who loathe Vladimir Putin but that is because they are leftists with a dash of anti Russian prejudices thrown in.This applies to American Jews of both West European and Russian origin(such as actor Michael Douglas whose father had escaped from Cossack oppression)
This is aided by Apocalyptic texts such as Book of Revelations where it is prophesised that the nations of Gog and Magog will invaded Israel in the end times. Gog and Magog in those days was associated with Scythia (known in India as Sakas and as per legend created from Vasishtas cow).
And Scythia was the progenitor of many nations including Russia ,Parthia(as distinct from Media) and the Turks.
Hence there is a good reason for Russia to be allied with Iran ,apart its former relationship as a colonial occupier of Teheran. Russians and Iranians are aware of this distant relationship and have a common interest in restraining the excitable Central Asian and Caucasian peoples over whom Iran holds considerable influence (In the words of Robert Kaplan, Iran is a cultural lode star for the Central Asians, a honor which until about 400 AD belonged to India)
Similarly its support for Syria and Palestine is motivated by a sympathy for the Orthodox sect of Christians who are heavily involved in the military security apparatus. Indeed in some ways the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s was just as much Greek Orthodox Syrian supported Alawites vs Lebanese Maronite Catholics as it was Sunni Lebanese and Shia Iranians. But then again there was no shortage of sectarian hatreds in that hornets nest which was once known as Switzerland of the Middle East.
It was a Greek Orthodox militia member in Beirut who had beaten up Christopher Hitchens in 2006 after he had defaced a swastika in the Orthodox style. A reminder that in some parts of the world, the Ribbentrop Molotov pact is still honored.
All in all, whatever one thinks of Russia's alliances , it make sense from a strategic, political, military and cultural point of view and it is naïve for the West to expect Russians under Putin to give up these relationships for the sake of the formers interests.
I don't believe in demonizing Putin but let us keep things in perspective. There is no reason to celebrate him.
His rise to power was lubricated by the blood of noble and patriotic Russians be they journalists, political opponents, business magnates or activists.
The Russian economy had failed to capitalize on high oil prices when the time was ripe and neglected diversification of its economy and vast potential of an educated and industrious middle class. Serious economic reform and infrastructure were woefully neglected.
As was a 100 years ago as it is now- Moscow and St Petersburg as two small islands amidst and cold ocean of darkness and despair.
That type of country is not sustainable. Already in the vast Siberian tundra there is talk of Chinese colonialism and economic supremacy complete with Chinese settlers.
And even in Moscow and St Petersburg tends to be rather provincial when compared to West European cities. Hardly any there speaks English and Russian is a notoriously difficult language to pick up. It is on top with Japanese and Arabic in the 5 hardest languages. This intimidates foreigners and discourages assimilation.
High oil prices don't last forever and the ramshackle Russian army ,though spirited ,courageous and resourceful, is still something that youth try to avoid. Unlike the U.S army where voluntary enlisting was high even during the darkest days of the Iraq war (2005-2007), the Russian army finds it hard to meet its quota even during peace time. Many young men of means go so far as to attend foreign universities to the extant of overstaying their visas just so that they are too old to be eligible for the draft.
As a result nearly a fifth is composed of Muslim recruits of Central Asian origin. The Russian demographic collapse was apparently exaggerated and has recovered but it is on the precipice. And only time will tell if the Tatar and Central Asian Muslims will out breed their Orthodox Christian overlords. Right now the smart money is on the former.
The Russian army is never far away from a complete breakdown in discipline a collapse of morale due to the near non existent NCOs. Russians are great are expelling invaders but not so at invading and maintain their new acquisitions. Those days ended with Catherine and Peter the Great.
The great Russian industry of armaments also suffered serious PR damage when its top client India complained of shoddy quality and delayed deliverables.
Russia Today is a blatant propaganda network for Putin coupled with a very coarse anti Americanism. To call it the Fox News of Russia is a disservice to Fox News. At least Fox News does present an anti establishment and pro liberty view points which are at odds of any administration Republican or Democrat. Not so Russia Today. There are few dictators that they dislike.
Ultimately what may do in Putin and therefore damage Russia is his own personal ego. This is an individual who understably has to cultivate a macho image to present to this constituents. Remember this is a country where the Enlightment only did half its work due to the conquest of Byzantium(which used to much needed Hellenic culture to the pastoral cultures of Finnic Scythian Slavic and Scandinavian mix that is Russian civilization). Hence they have a pre modern notion of what constitutes their leader. A big man who does great things , preferably in nature. Admittedly he does look good without a shirt. However some who wish to emulate him do not.
What ever his glories and warts and he has quite a few of each, he is certainly not the leader of the free world. Neither Putin nor the author of that ridiculous post would know freedom even if it bit them on the ass.
And if he actually believes this hype, and it is quite possible he does, it can well be the cause of his downfall as he will inevitably over reach as that is what he is doing in Ukraine and I'm afraid he will bring down quite a few of now powerful but ultimately hollow edifices with clay foundations with him.
All in all , the Russian people are tough ,resilient, intelligent, brave, cultured, tragic, artistic and sentimental people(what else explains their penchant for Bollywood?) with a culture to reflect all these aspects. So therefore let us celebrate it.