30 November 2021, Tuesday, 20:22
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How Will Putin Respond to Insults from the Belarusian State Media?

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How Will Putin Respond to Insults from the Belarusian State Media?
Petr Kuznetsov

The "response" will be such that everyone will remember.

The image of Putin sitting in a bunker and using botox on the Russian-language Internet is as stable and unshakable as Everest. These themes have given birth to thousands of memes and jokes, and any user will have only one association.

Perhaps, some of the Americans remember that Biden was sitting somewhere in a bunker and also used Botox, although this is unlikely. That's why the clumsy excuses of the Belarusian propagandists that, in the scandalous plot of STV, where the Russian president was spoken about, they actually meant the American one, look, well, unconvincing.

Nobody anywhere perceives Belarusian propaganda channels as some kind of independent media project - they are exclusively state property and the state mouthpiece.

In this regard, I recalled one of the stories of my long-dead grandmother. Born in a village within the current Homel region at the beginning of the 20th century, she lived there before the war, until she was taken into the army, so she remembered that life very well. And she very interestingly recounted some everyday scenes. For example, how two neighbors could quarrel.

So two village women of a century-old model fought, and there was a fence between them. And the story is this: each, from her side, will turn her back to this fence (to her neighbor), bend over, lift her skirt, and start yelling at each other over this fence. No one hears each other, they just yell: "Kiss my ...!", "Trumpet under my cat's tail!", "Hope you get syphilis!", "Salt in your eyes!", and so on, with less and less censorious words.

This is, in principle, from the same approximately cultural layer as "Trandychykha, when in temper, can do anything." And when I hear "It's not us who are fascists, it's you who are fascists," or if I happen to play some video from our propaganda TV, I always involuntarily remember this described scene. It's about the same level of communication.

The bottom line is that the entire system existing in Belarus is built with the use of people whose mentality is based on very archaic, patriarchal, and hierarchical relations. That is, something very close to the village of the 20th century, where there is always a clear hierarchy and very simplified interpersonal and intergroup relations prevail: the stronger is the right one, the weaker - you must beat him, and the best way to win an argument is to shout at your opponent over the fence.

In this scenario, it makes absolutely no difference whether the propagandists act on their own initiative or are told so because absolutely anyone can be "carried away" in such a way in their hierarchy - they are all like that there and do not accept "outsiders. The power structures that beat up are "carried away" in their own way, the propagandists who yell - in their own way, simply because this way of action is in their natural paradigm.

However, this does not make it any easier for Putin. Many people equate the Kremlin leadership with an organized criminal group, where the president is the leader. Those who do not share such assessments will at least recognize him as a strong leader. And both cases, one cannot afford to forgive personal, pointedly insulting slurs. In either case, you have to react and respond, or you will lose the respect of your own people. But in this particular case, simply reacting is not the best way to go either, because you will have to confess about the bunker and the Botox.

Therefore, if Putin is really a “child of a gateway,” a “KGBist,” “head of an organized criminal group,” or, at worst, just a “strong leader,” there will be no public skirmish in words, and there will be an impression that “it's forgotten.” However, there will be a "response," and it will be such that everyone will remember including this episode, and everyone will understand that this is wrong.

And if it doesn't happen... If it doesn't happen, then it will undermine some foundations of the Russian system and will strongly strike at Putin and his imperial ambitions. Because it will be clear to everybody that the boundary between what is allowed and what is not allowed concerning him is very conditional.

Petr Kuznetsov, Telegram