How do ordinary Russians view Vladimir Putin? Westerners don’t understand

Russians relate to their President Vladimir Putin in a special way, and the way they see the leader from the Kremlin can be very difficult for people who have lived their whole lives in a democratic society to understand.

Vladimir Putin on TVPhoto: Alexander Ryumin / TASS / Profimedia Images

In an analysis he did on his site TwitterVolodimir Tretiak, a researcher specializing in media and computer science at the Technical University of Vienna, says Putin has come to present himself as a god or a saint in Russia.

Tretyak became known after the outbreak of war in Ukraine On February 24 Thanks to his translation from the Russian press, he begins by recalling that the Russian leader has always publicly denied having personal relationships with others.

from His famous divorce As of 2013, she does not officially have a partner and her children all have different names. Putin always avoids questions about them, and he is always presented alone by the Russian media, the president fully engaged in his office.

The way the Russian press presents him leaves the impression that he is on a “sacred mission” for Russia.

Vladimir Putin is never guilty

Second, the Russian president is completely out of step with the normal life that Russians live, and is not presented in a relaxed environment. For example, he does not give late-night television interviews like those of US presidents, nor does he intervene in the programs of Kremlin propagandists like Vladimir Solovyov or Olga Skabeeva.

The exception to the situation is the Kremlin’s once-a-year press conference where Putin presents his views on every topic imaginable, from global geopolitical developments to Russia’s wheat harvest to the price of borscht.

In his rare interviews with the Russian press, he usually appears in an extravagant setting in the Kremlin. He was never seen riding a bicycle in public or doing things common to European heads of state.

But most importantly: in the minds of Russians, Putin is never guilty of anything.

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Tretyak says he sees reports from Russian television and bloggers in poor places, but even here people don’t blame the president for their situation. The researcher gives an example of a report made in the Kamchatka region of the Russian Far East.

An elderly person interviewed for the material lives in a communal apartment without his own house. But he admires the Russian president.

“I like Putin. He restored the army,” he says. The old man declares himself satisfied with the occupation of the Crimea, though, as Tretyach notes, it is unlikely that he will come to the peninsula. Illegally linked By Russia in 2014.

The old man instead blames his miserable life on the local authorities, which is common in Russia. People blame politicians for various things, but Putin is rarely seen as responsible for their problems.

Even critics of the “special military operation” did not dare to attack the Kremlin leader

For example, Tretiak presents a video posted by Igor Kirkin, a former commander of the separatists in Donbass, in which he is a guest of the former colonel and politician.

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“Who dared to tell our president that we have 2,000 modern drones?” he asks, a reference to what Putin said at a marathon press conference last year. As the war in Ukraine has shown, this has been proven false.

The former colonel believes that it is impossible for the President of Russia to spread disinformation. Even if he did, someone else was responsible, not Vladimir Putin.

Tretiak also recalled several reports by Igor Kirkin, who became one of the most popular military bloggers in Russia. Criticized in very harsh terms Military command in Moscow.

He went so far as to say that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was good Only wood is cut and raised by reindeerA reference to his birthplace in Siberia and the fact that he should be traded to Iran’s defense minister because he has managed to equip Tehran’s armed forces with thousands of modern drones despite US sanctions.

But Tretyak notes that Kirkin has never said anything negative about Putin, which is a possible explanation for why he’s been given so much freedom to criticize. Evolution of “Special Military Operations”..

In Russia, people owe Putin, not the other way around

The researcher also says that other groups in Russia also don’t believe that Putin is to blame for the problems facing the country, which is ironic considering he is considered as omnipotent as the tsars of old.

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Putin himself Recently compared His policies aligned with those of Emperor Peter the Great.

“The Germans lived under a dictatorship for about 41 years, and the Russians lived under a dictatorship for centuries. There were periods of weight loss, but they were short. This enormous obedience may also explain the large number of dictatorships in the former Soviet space,” says Volodymyr Tretyak.

The big difference between democracies and Russia, he says, is that Russians feel they owe something to their president, not the other way around.

“It is not the president who works for the people, it is the people who work for the president. Of course, the people don’t question the president’s decisions, the president has to be accountable to the people,” Tretiak explains.

“It’s like 1984 or some dystopian book. That’s the worst stuff,” he insists.

Dretiak also mentions people in the West saying “Both sides are bad”, “America bombed Iraq”, “America wants to start World War III”.

“They don’t understand what Russia is,” concludes the Austrian researcher.

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