Putin is a dictator and a tyrant, but other forces also sustain him and the west needs to understand them

Source: theguardian.com theguardian.com

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The west’s derisive reporting of Vladimir Putin’s election victory this week was a mark of his success. It was described as an abuse of democracy, “rigged”, “fixed” and “a sham”. The other candidates were shadows, while Putin’s true opponents were imprisoned, exiled or dead. According to this narrative, the 87% who voted for him were mere victims of coercion, the queues of silent protesters were the stars. Putin’s vote had nothing to do with democracy. It was a rerun of his 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, a global dressing-up, a rallying of support. As he celebrated his win to an adoring...