You bought his poster from Hot Topic and hung it lovingly opposite your bed so his smiling face could be the first you see every morning. You watch all his speeches, and pause to unzip your skinny jeans, but only when your parents won’t be home for a while. You’ve been lured in by the bad boy image he’s built for himself, but let’s face it, conservatives: Vladimir Putin will never fuck you.
Now I understand that consistency in their support of foreign politicians may be too much to ask of America’s populist center-right. That being said, I implore you to reconsider your involvement in the Putin fandom. I get why you like him: he’s a strong leader who demands results and gets them. He doesn’t like queers or Islamic terrorists, and is willing to send out the big guns to chase them off. Look, here’s a picture of him riding a bear! Epic meme!
I wish Obama was as EPIC and SUPER BADASS as Putin. He’s almost Reagan-esque in his mythical status, or – dare I say it – a Russian Theodore Roosevelt.
Here’s another historical figure he reminds me of: Benito Mussolini.
The rub with personality cults like Putin’s is that getting shit done in his way requires more than one curtailment of basic civil liberties that conservatives ostensibly champion, like the right to free speech and a free press. Putin also has no regard for the international community’s unspoken, yet mostly understood rule of “try not to invade countries because you feel like it”. Perhaps an appeal to national sovereignty is not the wisest one to make when writing as a libertarian anarchist, but conservatives, at least, should be able to find empathy with Ukraine’s right to not be invaded, especially when it is a far less dubious ally to the United States and has a severely less lackluster record of human rights abuses. It is exactly in the sense that he disregards established political boundaries in the name of reclaiming his “rightful clay” that I compare him to Mussolini, for what else can we call his need to “protect” ethnic Russians who already live and work under another tax farm’s banner other than irredentism? Did we not fight the most destructive war in human history because of this mindset?
Soldiering on within the Putin-as-fascist framework, it is important to note the kind words Il Duce himself received from Anglo-American academics. Because Hitler and Mussolini rose through the ranks of their respective nations via socialist parties, their praises were sung by such polar opposites on the ideological compass as Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw and the indirect progenitor of many a half-assed steampunk cosplay original /pol/-ack H.P. Lovecraft. Of course, Shaw and Lovecraft didn’t know at the time that these two would declare war on both their countries; Lovecraft didn’t even live to see WWII. But there are no mental gymnastics with which you can dodge having been sweet on a blatant tyrant.
In America today, the problem persists. Not to the same degree, of course; the leftist cognitive elites would not have us endorsing any tyrants or murderers they hadn’t personally handpicked (like, say, the killers of the Charlie Hebdo crew). But conservative mancrushes on Putin still warrant, at the very least, some mild concern. He is undoubtedly a continuation of heavy-handed Soviet policies that put Russian dominance above any petty ideological feuds like popular imagination assumes the Cold War was. Younger generations born after the fall of the USSR may not be able to see it from their limited perspective, but Russia sees its fall from grace as a world power as a flesh wound, one that is now rebounding from.
The American conservative stares at leather daddy Putin hanging on his bedroom wall, cartoon hearts in his eyes, looks over at his current boyfriend, Barack HUSSEIN Obama, and imagines what could be. Nevermind they moan about Obama’s own overreaches of authority, which, logically, should make them respect his manhood. But be forewarned, rightists: Your love for Russia’s machismo-laden, might-makes-right president betrays your constitutionalist veneer. You’re still so enamored by charismatic leaders you’ll go so far as to lick the feet of an ex-KGB who’s only immediately recognizable differences in policy over his Soviet predecessors is that he is slightly less of a communist.