Foreword from the Saker: Today I am posting a really interesting document. This is a open letter to her fellow “oppositionists” (from the Russian “oppositsioner” or “opponent”, in this case, a political opponent of Putin from the so-called non-system pro-US opposition, the folks who cannot even get a single deputy in the Duma because their rating is somewhere in 2-3% range) by a London based russophobic exile named Oksana Paksal (who writes such articles as “the unique features of Russian hatred”). Her letter was posted on the “Open Russia” website, an outlet created by Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Do I need to say more?
In her letter, Mrs Paskal openly admits that the Russian people are totally behind Putin and that her fellow “oppositionists” have exactly zero traction, credibility or influence in Russia. We already knew that, but it is interesting to hear that admission from a bona-fide Putin hater like Mrs Paskal.
A big thank you to Alena Scarecrow for translating this interesting document and for skillfully choosing a good image to use in lieu of Mrs Paskal’s photo (which you can still see here)!
Let’s lay down our arms, my fellow oppositionist
by Oksana Paskal
translation: Alena Scarecrow
I know perfectly well that only lazy ones haven’t yet commented on Putin’s record rating. Neither have I. It was not exactly laziness on my part, though; rather, gathering data. The thing is, having once again had a chance to plunge into the pool of my Russian compatriots from all across our vast motherland, I managed to both believe in this sky-high rating and to check it out. Let me assure you, my dear fellow oppositionist, that these statistics are absolutely real. Put all your nagging doubts aside and just believe it – Russia does stand firmly behind her President. In some regions his rating seems to reach the absolute 100%.
I had an opportunity to talk to people from different parts of the country – Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Irkutsk, Krasnodar, Surgut, Belgorod, Sakhalin, Petrozavodsk, Kostroma and others. They all are wonderful people, quite peaceful, absolutely adequate and not at all stupid. And they all as one firmly and somewhat defiantly confirmed that “yes, we unconditionally trust our President”. Yes, under his protection we feel as safe as behind a brick wall. Yes, he gives us a sense of total security. Yes, we look positively to the future. Yes, during his term in office Russia has risen from her knees and proven herself a leading world power. Yes, we agree that we should strike first rather than wait for a strike. Yes, we want to be feared. Yes, we will send our children to defend our motherland.
And there are dozens and dozens of similarly unreserved and uncompromising yes’s. People are content with their pensions, healthcare, opportunities, prospects and what not. And the major of all those yes’s is an ardent and sincere desire to see Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin as President for many, many, many years to come. Some even go as far as to declare they won’t vote unless there’s Putin’s name on the list of candidates. He’s the only one capable of keeping the country afloat and the world in fear. He is the only one capable of curbing corruption, rebuilding what’s been destroyed and protecting his people. “May God give him strength, health and willingness to keep on guiding us”.
I don’t know how it was under Stalin, but the stories read and heard make me think he was not so much loved as feared. People mourned over him, though. Earnestly. As for Khrushchev, I could be wrong but I think he caused mixed if not neutral feelings – neither love nor fear; neither hatred nor deep respect. What people felt was only a sense of gratitude for saving them from the horrors of Stalinism. A sense that somehow evaporated very quickly. Then, Brezhnev. Our “dear Leonid Ilyich” surely wasn’t loved by people, which I can witness. Like others preceding him he was a sort of worshiped alright, but merely out of habit. He was probably the first in the league of top ones to be laughed at, except for earlier weak attempts to make fun of Khrushchev and his rusticity. Yeltsin aroused no warm feelings in people’s hearts either, of course, even though in his first years he did manage to inspire solid respect. But the current leader differs from all others, being – as I personally see it – at the same time loved, respected, venerated and feared. He is seen as a defender, a mentor, a role model; a diverse, energetic and healthy leader. In the recent history of our country, in my opinion, it’s also the first time such happens. What – three, four, five in one? Seems so.
It’s curious, you know – to putting in “alpha male” Google always comes up with a picture of Vladimir Putin. For me it was a real discovery. For some personal reasons I needed to find a picture to illustrate this “alpha male” thing and that was how I stumbled upon this amazing phenomenon. Somewhere between invariable and unsurpassed Pitt – Schwarzenegger – Statham and their ilk on the one side and all types of orangutans on the other there was inevitably a photo, a picture or a poster of our President. Some of them were full of irony or even sarcasm, for sure, but still it’s a proof that he does impersonate an alpha male for his tribe. If you enter “macho” or “real man”, there’s not that much of Putin in the search results but he still pops up now and then. As for Obama or Cameron or any other western political leader, Google seems to totally ignore them all.
I’ve got the feeling that the Russians are fully prepared and willing to lay down their lives for the President. Many of them have seen at least three long-playing rulers (I don’t take into account the period when Russian-Soviet leaders used to die with statistical regularity), but only the current one makes them swell with pride. We oppositionists are horrified by the fact that the President in every way promotes the plebeian, “street”, culture that he’s been carrying through all his life, whereas his compatriots find it so touching and meritorious. That “Strike first whenever there is a threat” of his was frantically quoted in an hour after it was uttered. To my “Hold on, is there anyone threatening us?” there was the unanimous “Nobody! We have Him and He will never let anyone threaten us!”
Only one person out of all those I questioned found a President’s fault to point to. Putin, he says, is negligent of the agricultural sector. Even worse, he’s led to its total destruction. All other interviewees stood up for the head of the country and expressed unequivocal support to all his actions and words – when I say “all” I mean it, mind you.
What is there to say, my friend? What’s the point in resenting, waving flags and shouting out slogans? Is there any use organizing rallies and pickets? Against what? Or whom? Against the monolith of unconditional trust and utter devotion the huge country has formed to her Hero, her Icon, her Idol? Heaven knows, the Russians love as passionately and selflessly – if not more – than they hate. What if we just let them love Him to their hearts’ content? If they feel fine about it, why to change anything? Who to change it for? How to change it? All are happy as it is, so who needs sacrifices, losses, fighters and the fight itself? Let’s rejoice then, my dear fellow oppositionist! Let’s take advantage of this respite and lay down our arms for the time being. What a great opportunity to accumulate strength and experience, isn’t it? Just to lie low and watch. And learn. That 90-percent human monolith will call us the moment it decides it needs a new Hero-Idol-Icon. The main thing for us is not to miss this moment and lend our help. Any kind of help.