Vladimir Putin is dying and all the problems will vanish soon

by Alex S.

Putin pictured in a Nazi uniform
Poster with Vladimir Putin in a Nazi uniform held during a demonstration. Photo by Markus Spiske.

The subject of Adolf Hitler’s health as well as his personal effects dominated the intellectual debate right from the day the Nazi party assumed power. Many commentators and journalists personalised the annexation of Austria and Sudetenland (1938) and the other aggressive policies of the Nazi Germany pre-Second World War. They attributed what was going on to the one man at the helm. They were optimistic that this insanity would be short-lived. Once WWII started, many hugged the notion that the sick foul Führer was the source of that evil. He was to die or would be removed from power shortly and hence, the war would finish. It would not last for long time, many people thought. The war lasted for six years and claimed the lives of millions. Hitler’s mental as well as physical illnesses did not end the war or Nazism.

Stalin’s illnesses and the notion that he was expected to die at any minute was another illusion that distracted many people from facing the bitter reality. The psychopathic dictator ruled for more than 30 years, in which he ruined the lives of many millions of people, despite the many people hoping for his demise from natural causes or by a firing squad. Most importantly, his death did not bring the hoped-for solution. It took another four decades of human suffering and struggle for the evil empire to collapse.

From the 1980s up to 2003, Saddam Hussein was presented as the ultimate evil. He was behind the massacres that claimed the lives of millions of innocent Iraqis. He is the one who invaded Kuwait. He was supporting terrorism and ruthlessly suppressing his people. He attacked the Kurds with chemical weapons. He is the one responsible for every evil act carried out by the Iraqi security forces, assassins, and soldiers during his stay in power. This rationale was propagated by people who were introduced as intellectuals and adopted by policy makers. The two groups managed to convince the public all over the world that the events taking place in Iraq were nothing but a one man’s show.

In Libya, it was Muammar Gaddafi. He is the one who financed terrorism all over the world. He is the one who was using the oil revenue to destabilise Europe. He is the one behind the Lockerbie bombing. He is the root cause of Libya’s problems.

When it came to terrorism, Osama Bin Laden was enemy number one. He is the one responsible for the 9/11 massacre. He was painted as the principal threat to Western interests.

"One man's show" rationale

In each one of these instances, people were deceived into believing that there was one person responsible for the acts of a country or a popular movement and that there was an easy solution to the crisis: once the person presented as the source of evil is removed, the evil will end. Once Saddam is removed from power and the Iraqis were allowed to govern themselves and decide their destiny through elections, Iraq will be Switzerland and the German tourists will flock to Baghdad airport to visit Ur and swim in the Tigris, we were told. Libya will compete with Italy in attracting tourists due to its sandy beaches and natural resources, once Gaddafi is out of the picture, the commentators assured us. Once bin Laden and the Taliban are removed from power, the Afghanis will build their great democratic nation and will be like the Japanese great allies of the civilised world, many people believed.

Nowadays, the same rationale is used to mislead people into adopting the false understanding of the war in Ukraine as a one man’s show. It has been constructed as Putin’s war, a man’s who is suffering from the Napoleon complex. Thus, in a nutshell, the war is nothing but an act of a psychopath who waged it for personal motives. But there is some good news: he is ill. Even better, he is dying. Once he is dead, Russia will become Norway. Russian soldiers will leave Ukraine, Crimea, Georgia, and all the other lands they occupy. The UralVagonZavod factories will produce the delicious vatrushka pastry rather than tanks.

The tip of the tip of an iceberg

This rationale is extremely appealing as it is based on the cherished illusory misconception that all people are good and equal and when there is one who is evidently very evil, then he is the exception that proves the general rule. Many didn’t want to see the fact that Saddam got into power because he was a prototype of the authoritarian characters that existed for centuries in Iraq among people who were in power. Saddam’s acts were a replica of those of numerous chiefs who ruled Iraq with an iron fist over the ages. The way many Iraqi bureaucrats were carrying out their heinous crimes under Saddam was a facsimile of their ancestors’ customs which had occurred under different tyrants. Saddam was nothing but the tip of the tip of an enormous iceberg. Hence, once he was removed, not much has changed. The killing, raping, looting and exploitation of Iraqis by other Iraqis, which was going on for many centuries before Saddam and during his reign, has continued after his removal with the same practices but under different titles and at different levels. Some of the killers who had been members of the security forces established Sunni and Shia armed resistance guerrillas; some established a Shia militia affiliated with the ruling political parties; some had been policemen and judges during Saddam and remained in their positions after his removal. While Saddam was in power, they were corrupt and ruthless, and after his removal, well – they remained the same. Even the ones who had been in exile turned out to have a similar understanding of how to rule a country. They were against being suppressed by Saddam and his followers but not against suppression.

The same applies to Libya, Afghanistan, and, if you want, to every country in which people were liberated by the Western powers. The situation did not substantially improve in each one of these countries because it was never a one man’s show. It never is. For instance, the Taliban are the product of their culture and not an outlier that can be surgically removed. If the Iranian supreme leader died today, nothing much would change in Iran. The Islamic regime members who are killing and looting and suppressing the rest of the population will pledge their allegiance to the new man in power and it will be business as usual.

If Putin was assassinated this week, not much would change. He is nothing but the tip of the colossal iceberg and a prototype of Russian mentality that has existed for centuries. Attacking other nations, annexing foreign lands, and dominating other nations has been an essential feature of the Russian collective identity. Putin is the symptom, not the disease. Hence, holding on to theoretical opioids such as the notion that the war will finish once Putin is gone, and with it all the troubles, and there will be a happy ending for everyone is as dangerous as it is immoral. If people had a sound understanding of the Russian mentality, they would have pushed back when the Russian invaded Georgia in 2008. The invasion of Crimea in 2014 could have been prevented, if the people had understood that it wouldn’t be the last.

To make sure that this war is the last incursion by the Russians into other people’ lands, the Russian identity and reasoning need to be examined and challenged, not avoided or suppressed.