Staunton, February 25 – Vladimir Putin is a Russophobe’s dream: he has so tarnished Russia’s reputation by his actions and lies about them that increasingly people around the world are ready to blame him and his country for things that in fact he and Moscow didn’t do, according to Matvey Ganapolsky.
But if the enemies of Russia are not unhappy, the Moscow commentator says, Russians should be because this perception is driving the behavior of others and there is little in the short run that Moscow can do about it to correct the situation. Instead, it finds itself having produced exactly the reverse of what it wants (echo.msk.ru/blog/ganapolsky/1933996-echo/).
Moreover, Ganapolsky continues, others will continue to view Russia in this way even if it should happen that Putin and Moscow should suddenly stop engaging in subversion and lies because everyone will continue to assume that they are doing exactly what they have done in the past.
One may even say that this is “the first case in history when there is no direct evidence of Russian participation in American intrigues but when all are convinced” that they have done even more evil than in fact is the case and that Americans, for example, are now blaming Trump for his involvement in what they believe to have happened.
This is like an inversion of the story of the little boy who cried “wolf” when there wasn’t one and then was eaten by one because no one would believe him when real wolves came. “With Russia, it is just the reverse, it is clearly silent but the wolves are running around and gobbling up all in order.”
Perhaps in fact there are no wolves, Ganapolsky says, “but everyone sees Russians as wolves because Russia has taught the world not to believe it in the case of ‘little green men’ which weren’t and in the Donbass where miners and tractor drivers are fighting” according to Kremlin propaganda.
By his actions and lies, Putin has achieved something few might have thought possible: he has reduced the reputation of Russia to that of Libya, Iraq and Iran.” And that means that everyone will assume that whenever anything bad happens anywhere in the world, Russia must somehow be implicated.
Putin may see this as evidence that Russia is now again a superpower, but “this coin has two sides,” and the second is anything but good for him or for his country, Ganapolsky says. Trump, for example, may have wanted to improve ties with Russia; but Russian actions have made Putin “radioactive.” And now the US president will be force to be tougher than ever.
How Putin and Russia will escape from the disaster that the Kremlin leader has created in this case is far from clear, but the consequences of his actions are increasingly obvious and increasingly at odds with the national interests of Russia and the Russian people.