He is pure evil. He is a killer. That is all. Contorted or gratuitous explanations are not necessary to explain his behavior. Many in the West have twisted themselves into knots attempting to explain Putin or perhaps offer hope that somehow the war will end with Putin’s demise.

The latest distortion was in connection with Putin’s New Year’s address. Some even reported that Putin must be physically ill since he was coughing throughout. Resorting to Russian style disinformation is not necessary. Putin simply cleared his throat several times. The total video lasting some ten minutes was clear evidence of misinformation or attempted sensationalism only to be contradicted by the video itself. Putin was in complete control. He obviously helped stage it. Some of his main actors were participants.

Putin’s speech was a montage of  lies. but his mendacity was clear sighted and intentional. He went out of his way to appear on screen not as a severe dictator but a conciliator towards not only the Russian people but all the peoples of Russia. This indicated that he was cognizant of his own  political vulnerability within Russia not only among the Russians but the captive nationalities within. This continued reference to the people of Russia rather than the Russian people was striking and most intentional. Putin is not delusional. He is aware of internal turmoil within an empire which he maintains by force and repression.

Depicting Putin as either mentally or physically ill is not conducive to Putin’s demise or bringing about peace. Russia and Russians are built upon and fed by lies. Perhaps the best example of that is the Russian Orthodox alleged church. Some Western experts have represented the idea that a messianic vision of Russian Orthodox somehow serves as an impetus for Russian behavior. Religion often serves as an opiate, often for both good and bad. But Russian Orthodoxy today is neither a church nor a religion. Analyzing Russian Orthodoxy through the centuries may require a separate analysis but what is indisputable is that the Russian symbol, the two headed eagle was stolen from Constantinople Christianity and even the Moscow Patriarchy was  achieved at the point of a gun.

One publication recently even suggested that Putin takes his cue from Russian Orthodox alleged patriarch Kirill. Nothing can be further from the truth. Putin is the general. Kirill at best may be a colonel. The Russian Orthodox Church is a state institution, In fact its latest version is a creation of Stalin from the 1940’s. The West certainly lends too much undeserved recognition and credit to that appendage of Russian special forces.

These distortions are not helpful in the struggle against Russia. I am not ascribing motives to the distorters. Let’s call it naivete as we do when explaining the actions of Pope Francis, lest we offend him and the Catholic Church. Disinformation particularly by respected sources even without malice or intent to misinform is very dangerous because it impacts public opinion. The struggle against Russian imperialism must be a global effort. While fringe reactions and behavior is to be expected, the fringe should be neutralized by rational consensus and global effort.

There are weaknesses within Russia, but a debilitated Putin is not one of them, especially when one recognizes that Moscow has been producing Putins for centuries. The greatest weaknesses

within Russia are that it is a prison of some 100 captive nations, that its economy is not productive and that as a result of the lack of financial wherewithal its military might is grossly exaggerated. Whatever might it possesses was stolen including its nuclear capability. Winning the war requires dismantling the Russian empire not victimising its principal criminal or inducing complacency suggesting that the main evil is almost at an end. Vladimir Putin remains the main perpetrator but the accomplices are the Russian people, Russian culture and history.

January 3, 2022                                         Askold S. Lozynskyj