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Ukraine War: Disentangling the Putinism Era

The current Ukrainian crisis has served as a stark backdrop against which the genuine essence of Putinism has been exposed. The battle has revealed the regime's fixation with using force and repression, exposing Putinism as a once-powerful ideology based on territorial expansionism and a fierce dedication to the state.

The conflict, which began as an effort to regain Russian dominance in Ukraine, unintentionally kicked off a series of developments that may spell the end of the Putinist period, which formerly controlled Russian life and politics.

The idea of territorial expansion and the repression of domestic dissent to maintain a sacralized state were at the core of Putin's interpretation of the Russian Idea. The destruction of civil society, the intimidation of independent media, and the harsh repression of any form of resistance have all contributed to the survival of this notion.

In order to further maintain control, the regime has imposed loyalty requirements on the citizenry, required "patriotism" courses in schools, rewrote textbooks, and forced people to attend pro-Putin demonstrations. The Kremlin has done this in an effort to tighten its grip on popular opinion and thinking.

However, the Ukrainian conflict has revealed the façade of Putinism to be a lie. Putin's attempt to use purely military force to restore the imperial past has failed, straining public support. The public's tepid reaction to the start of the conflict suggests a growing ambivalence towards the regime.

This lack of interest, developed over years of passive observation, can be both helpful and dangerous for the regime. Although it permits Putin to engage in disastrous military operations, it might be devastating if the regime actually faces threats. Ordinary Russians are ill-equipped to actively defend their leader should the necessity arise.

The propaganda apparatus of the dictatorship has been crucial in influencing public opinion. The diversity of political speech that previously existed in Russia has been eroded by the imposition of official ideology and the destruction of opposing ideas. The persecution of liberals and the repression of their supporters are signs that the administration wants to impose a single narrative.

The majority of Russians still prioritise financial stability over the regime's exaltation of weaponry and empire. The limitations of Putinism have been made clear by the conflict in Ukraine and the regime's militaristic strategy. The doctrine's reliance on military aggressiveness, repression, and propaganda has diminished its popularity and exposed its flaws.

It's possible that Putinism as an ideology won't completely vanish after Russian involvement in Ukraine ends. Putin, a skilled manipulator of narratives, would try to present failure as success. But history demonstrates that in Russia, political change frequently starts at the top.

There may be a new generation of reformers from the elite who push for modernisation and a more cordial relationship with the West. Conflicts and, in certain situations, compromise may result from the tension between these reformers and Putinist adherents.


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