Putin The TV Puppet Master (Image: Zina Saunders)
There are as yet no mass repressions in Russia, but there is “simply no need for them,” Ukrainian poet and translator Borys Khersonsky says. Vladimir Putin has control of television and thus can instill terror in the population without the bother of a large number of murders.
“In the present-day Russian Federation, he continues, “the role of ‘the great terror’ play the means of mass information and of television above all.” He needs only repress a handful, show it on television, and everyone will be afraid.
This is in marked contrast to Stalin’s times where far more killings were needed that people heard about and then spread the fear they felt by rumors, Khersonsky says. Now, “the possibility of danger reproduced via the media, extends” any particular horror far more rapidly and to a far larger audience.
Why go to the bother of “mass public executions?” he asks rhetorically. Television will have the same impact more easily and more quickly. And it will achieve the ends that Stalin sought by updated, perhaps one can say “hybrid” means.
But both under Stalin and under Putin, “by the unwritten laws of psychology” – including the Stockholm syndrome in which victims come to identify with their oppressor – horror will give birth to devotion. Deprivations will do the same. And under this devotion lies the betrayal” of everything human.
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