News / Europe

'Patriot's Handbook' May Give Insight into Putin's Thoughts

FILE - Russia's President Vladimir Putin is seen at an event in St. Petersburg, June 5, 2014.
FILE - Russia's President Vladimir Putin is seen at an event in St. Petersburg, June 5, 2014.
Oleg Makarenko wants to set the story straight and answer the “Russophobes” who he says are trying to split and humiliate Russia.
His website Ruxpert may not command the viewer numbers of Wikipedia which inspired it, but inside Russia it holds a prominent position in what Makarenko calls an information war with the West.
As Vladimir Putin has embraced an increasingly nationalist ideology in his third term as president, evidenced by his seizing of Crimea from Ukraine, Makarenko's anti-Western ideas have become mainstream. His website, designed to be a “Patriot's handbook”, has mirrored and presaged Putin's thinking.
Makarenko denies receiving money or support from political groups. But his website fits in to a seemingly well-organized Russian media campaign that has blamed the West for the protests that drove Viktor Yanukovich from power in neighboring Ukraine.
Ruxpert logoRuxpert logo
Ruxpert logo
Ruxpert logo

Offering notes on subjects ranging from Crimea and New Russia to liberal myths and sexuality, Ruxpert says it provides “the truth about Russia - without dirty, enemy propaganda and without embellishments”. All good background information to equip “Russian patriots” with reliable arguments.
Makarenko, a prominent blogger in Russia under the name Fritz Morgen, said his website and others like it were needed after the collapse of the Soviet Union enabled America “to swallow countries up like they were nuts, one after the other”.
“If we fail to win the information war then it will be easy for the Americans to get people on to the streets,” he said, reflecting mistrust, fanned by Putin, of the West. The danger of instability is a continual refrain.
Makarenko started his blog in 2007 and set up Ruxpert last year. He says the site runs on contributions from readers and articles are written for free.
“Russia has an ideology of traditional conservatism. People have a choice - on the one hand they see the West, where there is individualism taken to the extreme, tolerance to the extreme, gay parades, the lack of a traditional family,” Makarenko said.
“Russia has more traditional values. I cannot say that this is a route of development that offers a brighter future, but it is not the dead-end that Western liberalism faces.”
Before, after Crimea
A review of Putin's public comments since he came to power in 2000 shows a consistent emphasis on restoring Russia's pride and its place as a geopolitical power. This has become an even greater priority in his third term as president.
Living through the chaos of the 1990s after returning home from his KGB post in eastern Germany, Putin blamed the West for all but destroying post-Soviet society.
In 2005, he lamented the collapse of the Soviet Union and urged Russia to take its own path.
Last year, he went further, calling for a new and fierce patriotism to save Russia from Western ideology which, he said, was “denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual”.
Drawing on at least three schools of thought and contemporary Orthodox beliefs, the former KGB spy has buttressed his ideas with the work of Russian thinkers from the 19th and 20th centuries - a period characterized by debate about Russia's identity.
He has peppered his speeches with references to political philosophers such as Ivan Ilyin who, in the early 20th century, blamed a lack of national pride for allowing the tragedy of the Bolshevik revolution.
Konstantin Leontyev, who was critical of Western consumer society in the late 19th century, also figures, dovetailing with the thinking of a new generation of leaders in the Russian Orthodox Church.
For an answer, Putin has turned to Soviet-era historian Lev Gumilev who contended that Russia was not a European state but a Eurasian one, uniting two continents.
Putin's vision of a Eurasian Union stretching from the Polish frontier to Pacific shores would group together former Soviet states and cement an alternative economic system.
“The Eurasian Union is a project for maintaining the identity of nations in the historical Eurasian space in a new century and in a new world,” Putin told visiting journalists last year.
Also among Gumilev's teachings is the theory that nations can become great in the hands of passionate leaders, such as Alexander the Great or Napoleon.
'Russian world'
Today, two academics, Igor Panarin and Alexander Dugin, have played an important role in establishing the idea of a clash of cultures in the popular consciousness. In their lectures they speak of a geopolitical battle between the West and Russia.
Dugin, who supports the unification of Russian-speaking territories, teaches at Moscow State University. Panarin teaches at the Russian Foreign Ministry's school for future diplomats.
A third academic, Olga Vasilyeva, professor of religious thought at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, has delivered lectures to the presidential administration, her institute told Reuters.
Vasilyeva did not respond to a request for comment. Kommersant newspaper said she had taken part in a three-day seminar on spiritual ties and conservatism for the Kremlin.
In a speech on March 18 shortly after annexing Crimea, Putin set out his vision of a Greater Russia.
Historian Valery Solovei noted Putin's use of the word “Russky” for Russian instead of the more usual “Rossissky” - a possibly significant linguistic shift suggesting Putin sees himself as leader of all Russians, not just those living within Russia's borders.
“He used the word Russky 27 times. This has never happened before,” Solovei said of a word that is used to describe someone by their ethnicity rather than their citizenship. “So the Eurasian Union has been taken over by some kind of vague notion of 'a Russian World'. It's an ideological innovation.”
One source close to the political elite said Putin had gone so far off script that even his closest aides were struggling to define his “post-Crimea” ideology. Inadvertently or not, he may have handed conservative forces in the FSB security service a more powerful hand in policy making - something that may prompt rifts with Putin's more liberal aides.
By laying claim to lands outside Russia, Putin may be breaking with a role he has played since he came to power after the chaos of the 1990s - the guarantor of stability.
“We are not talking about the former Soviet Union, but the unification of Russians, like a kind of community. The question is how do you interpret this? Is it cultural, ethnic or biological even?” Solovei said.
“The other thing is, is the move ideologically entrenched or not? It's a very risky move for Putin.”

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs