IRRUSSIANALITY

As regular readers will have divined, I have a particular interest in the ideological underpinnings of the modern Russian state and its leaders, including President Vladimir Putin. Western analysts often mistakenly describe the people now governing Russia as nostalgic for the Soviet Union, an idea which Putin’s recent statements about Lenin should surely discredit. But if it’s easy enough to say what Putin is not, ideologically speaking, it is much harder to say what he is. Judging by a comment he made on Wednesday, the man himself might tell me that I am wasting my time trying to work it out.  At a meeting of the Leaders’ Club business association, Putin responded to a remark that Russia needs some unifying ‘national idea’ in the following way:

We do not have and cannot have any unifying idea other than patriotism. … You said that public servants and business and all citizens in…

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