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Samizdata quote of the day – Vittu Putin edition

Can Putin take any comfort from the advance of the populist Finns Party, which achieved its best-ever result to take second place? After all, Moscow has often looked to Europe’s hard-Right parties for sympathy. Only last week, more than 20 MPs from Austria’s Freedom Party staged a walk-out when Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the national parliament.

However, there’s a big difference between the Nordic populists and their counterparts in the Danube region. To put it mildly, Finnish nationalism is not known for its pro-Russian tendencies.

Peter Franklin

18 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – Vittu Putin edition

  • Steven R

    Considering Finland formally joins NATO tomorrow and the new Finnish government isn’t likely to withdraw from NATO as its first act, whatever joy Putin might have in a right turn in Helsinki is tempered by the fact that his invasion of Ukraine did the exact opposite of what he wanted in the first place: keeping NATO from expanding.

  • Paul Marks

    Similar talk was made about the victory of the right in Italy – but it turned out that the new Prime Minister had condemned Mr Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine from the start.

    It will be the same in Finland and Bulgaria – the new Prime Minister will be someone who has always condemned Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

    I always noted Mr Putin’s policy of having opponents murdered – both in Russia and elsewhere (including Britain), so his invasion of Ukraine just confirmed what I already thought about him.

    I dislike Mr Putin’s regime for the same reasons I like, for example, Texas.

    In Texas there is Freedom of Speech – in Russia there is not.

    In Texas nearly all land is privately owned – in Russia most land is state owned.

    In Texas it is not legal to kill babies – in Russia it is legal to kill babies.

    And in Texas the Governor does not have his opponents murdered – Mr Putin does murder his opponents.

  • Sigivald

    I can’t comprehend why Austrian nationalists would think any better of Putin or a resurgent Russian Empire, though of course the Finns have far more personal reasons to oppose both.

    (I can vaguely understand them snubbing Ukraine on “leave us out of EU politics and foreign entanglements” grounds, even if walking out on an ADDRESS is ridiculous compared to “voting against doing anything”.

    But embracing Putin is the sort of thing a toddler would do in that position – “The EU sucks, Putin opposes the EU, thus Putin rules!” is bollocks.)

  • Paul Marks

    Sigivald – I once described support for Mr Putin as a “drowning man clutching at a poisonous snake”.

    But it is not a toddler throwing a tantrum – it is people in utter despair, seeing Western civilisation falling apart and believing there is only torment to look forward to for themselves and their children.

    The state of the West is truly terrible, far worse than most people yet know. Those who do know how terrible things really are, how close we are to collapse – are desperate, utterly desperate.

    I can understand such people, because I am one of them. The only difference is that I reject false hope – and Mr Putin is classic false hope.

    The question is – is there any real hope? Mr Putin is not it – but is there any real (true) hope?

  • Kirk

    I find a lot of the claims of “right-wing support” for Putin to be disingenuous, at best. It’s mostly consisted of people throwing accusations left, right, and center while going about actually doing things in support of the Russians.

    Hillary Clinton being a number-one example. Who was it that pushed through the Uranium One sale to Russia…? Who took the “reset” button to Moscow? Who was it, again, that said that the 1980s called and wanted their policies back, when Romney (correctly, in my mind…) identified Russia as the number-one security threat…?

    The thing I want to know is what caused the sea change in policy towards Ukraine. Biden did everything he could while he was with Obama to undercut the rule of law in Ukraine; his son was making money as a “consultant” for Burisma. Along with a bunch of politician’s kids, Democrat and Republican both. From the appearance of things, I’d have said that they were deliberately undercutting Ukraine’s sovereignty for Russia’s benefit, over the long haul. Now? They’re bending over backwards to give Zelensky everything he asks for. What changed?

    My guess? Zelensky has the goods on a lot of people in the West, most notably in the US. If he dropped the stuff he has (and was apparently trying to get to Trump as far back as 2018), wellllll… I bet there’d be some serious pants-filling in amongst the political class.

    As far as Trump goes, the way I see it from what he actually did? He never had policy to do or actually did anything in Russia’s favor. He was against Nordstream II; his sanctions on it were the ones Biden took off as soon as he got into office. He may have said some nice things about Putin, but those were never followed up with actions; my interpretation is that he was following his usual strategy of negotiating by acting nice in the negotiations and surrounding them, yet playing hardball behind the scenes. The optics were what they turned against him.

    I also say that you don’t go poking the bear; you make nice until it goes away or you’ve got your rifles out, loaded, and ready to fire. Russia is a nuclear-armed country, in theory; acting the ass with Putin is not necessarily a good idea.

    Do remember who it was that gave the OK for the US forces in Syria to absolutely smash the Wagner element that was moving on US and Kurdish bases. Very little actual “Russian collusion” was going on during the Trump administration, yet who got accused of the things that the Clinton State Department actually, y’know… Did?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Allow me a preamble.
    As i remarked a few times, i regard the words ‘left’ and ‘right’ as meaningless (in politics), except with reference to a specific time and place. Therefore, it makes no sense to speak of a ‘right turn’, since the meaning of ‘right’ must be presumed to be different at the latest election than it was at the previous election.

    More relevant here are differences in place; or rather, language areas: It is the Anglosphere that associates Putin with the “far”-“right”.

    In the EU Parliament, there are few MEPs who support Putin and oppose EU membership for Ukraine — and they are almost all “far”-“left”. I count 4 Commies (Greek & Portuguese), 1 ex-commie (from the Latvian Russian Union), and 6 assorted “lefties” (from Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Spain).

    I count only 2 “far”-“right” MEPs supporting Putin: a Greek too extreme to associate with any political group in the EU Parliament, and a Dutchman who is one of 65 MEPs in the Identity and Democracy group (which includes Le Pen’s party and the AfD).

    No member of the Conservatives and Reformists group (which includes Giorgia’s party and the Polish Law & Justice) supported Putin.

  • Steven R

    Kirk wrote:

    My guess? Zelensky has the goods on a lot of people in the West, most notably in the US. If he dropped the stuff he has (and was apparently trying to get to Trump as far back as 2018), wellllll… I bet there’d be some serious pants-filling in amongst the political class.

    I doubt it. Opening the books might outrage the locals enough leading to riots might be how it would play out in Europe, but you and I both know in the US it would just be used as political finger pointing, maybe a couple House and Senate panels, but no one resigns over it, no one gets perp walked, and the same time a week later the whole thing is completely forgotten. The absolute worse thing that happens is someone loses an election and ends up working on K Street.

    “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”
    -George Carlin

  • Kirk

    @Steven R,

    I think somebody is afraid of something. What? I’ve no idea. But, I can’t see an alternative explanation for what’s visibly going on.

    By all rights, and by my read of the situation, Ukraine should have been left hanging out to dry for Putin and his cronies. The signs were all there; State Department was offering him a ride into exile, and all the rest of the usual package deal for these types. Then, it changed; why?

    I’ve tried coming up with an alternative explanation, but I’ve been unable to.

  • Steven R

    It was an election year and the WH didn’t want to give the Republicans any fodder coupled with a chance for Biden to look tough internationally after totally blowing the end of Afghanistan. No one in DC expected Putin to actually go through with it.

    I’m sure there are any number of payoffs and closeted skeletons regarding Ukraine that Z is keeping. I suspect those in DC don’t want them coming out simply because they don’t want their dirty laundry being aired, but I also think none of them are worried about any real consequences. We won’t be seeing a repeat of Teapot Dome and people going to prison over this or Afghanistan.

    Maybe just the idea of what Z has is why we are keeping the money flowing in the hopes he’ll get a bomb through his HQ skylight because dead men tell no tales. Or maybe the Big Guy and friends are still getting their 10% skim. I don’t know. I just know nobody will ever be held accountable in DC if/when Z’s secrets come out.

  • JohnB

    Paul, I think you are correct about the future, of western civilisation, of the world.
    I mean, what can possibly go wrong with AI there to rescue us all? Especially if substantially implemented from Beijing. (Not that AI might take too kindly to being directed on an on-going basis, by anyone).
    But, as you know, I do have hope.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I dated a Finnish lady whose grandfather was in the 1939-40 “winter war” against the Red Army. There’s no love lost between these nations.

    A good move for Finland and NATO.

  • Paul Marks


    Yes – the West has been in decline for a long time and decline may well be turning into collapse. The West is clearly dying – although the West is NOT yet dead.

    The question is what can be done to prevent that collapse and to reverse the decline – how can “reactionary policies” (i.e. the reversal of the terrible harm that has been done) be achieved?

    Mr Putin is NOT helpful in achieving the task of saving the dying West.

    As for ChatGPT (and so on) – so far it is farcical. Repeating or inventing wild lies on many subjects.

  • Paul Marks

    Kirk makes a good point.

    The “dirty little secret” of American, and wider Western world, politics is that the people who denounce Mr Putin the most, and in the most shrill language, are people whose policies have a lot in common with the policies of Mr Putin.

    It is, for example, Hillary Clinton and Joseph “Joe” Biden (not Donald John Trump) who hate and despise Freedom of Speech – just as Mr Putin hates and despises Freedom of Speech.

    Even on Foreign Policy the similarity is striking – for example it was Donald John Trump, not Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden, who kept asking why American military forces were in Syria and many other countries – Mr Putin, like Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden, always assumed that his military forces should be in many other countries. Minding his own business has never occurred to Mr Putin as a foreign policy – he is an Imperialist, just as Mrs Clinton and Mr Biden are Imperialists.

  • Paul Marks

    A couple of days ago a person was convicted in New York City of the “crime” of telling joke on line in 2016 “vote for Hillary by text” – absurdly this was treated as a “scheme to undermine democracy”, Hillary Clinton supporters told same joke in 2016 “vote for Trump by text” but the government has never prosecuted them.

    The American regime is despicable – that it is a bitter truth and it is a truth that must be faced, but it is not just a few evil people in Washington D.C., this was a jury trial – the jury were vicious, they knew the man was innocent but they wanted to send him to prison because they did not like his politics.

    It is no exaggeration to say that a conservative can not get a fair trial in wide areas of the United States – if they are brought to trial at all (remember there are still January 6th 2021 protestors who are still in prison, without trail, and they are being abused). Not all of the “81 million votes” Mr Biden (who openly supported such things as the sexual mutilation of eight year old children) supposedly got in 2020 were fake – many of those votes were from real people, and many (NOT all – but many) of those people are evil (that is not an exaggeration – they are evil), they will happily rob, falsely imprison, or murder people whose political or cultural opinions they do not agree with.

    These people are products of a Marxist dominated education system – and in many areas of the United States the education system (and media) is dominated by Marxist assumptions, which deny objective principles of impartial justice. Dividing the world between “oppressors” and “the oppressed” – the “oppressors” have no rights, they may be robbed, tortured, murdered, by “the oppressed” who are taught to feel good about themselves doing these things.

    Mr Putin is also the product of a Marxist education system – and although he is no longer a Marxist, the lack of basic principles of impartial justice is clear in him.

  • Kirk

    I should point out that while the West has often had its solemn elegies spoken over its soon-to-be-filled grave, what comes after has often been at odds with those doomsayers. There’s a capacity for renewal and change that many discount.

    Usually, the same idiots pushing things towards the graveside. I suspect that the current lot of geriatrics running the Democrat/Republican oligarchy are in for a bit of a shock, once they’ve convinced the rest of the country of their own inherent selfishness and essential incompetence.

    The whole thing remains to be seen. Despair is a sin, remember.

  • AndrewZ

    “Mr Putin is classic false hope”

    Russia can’t even offer any hope to Russians, let alone to anybody else. Russia today combines an authoritarian political system with aggressive ethno-nationalism and disastrous levels of corruption. The state suppresses or co-opts every expression of civil society, and the all-pervasive corruption relentlessly corrodes the natural moral sense of the individual. Lying, cheating and stealing becomes the norm, and anybody who tries to fight it gets crushed. Eventually, people forget how to live in any other way. The West is decadent but Russia is depraved.

  • bobby b

    “Russia today combines an authoritarian political system with aggressive ethno-nationalism and disastrous levels of corruption. The state suppresses or co-opts every expression of civil society, and the all-pervasive corruption relentlessly corrodes the natural moral sense of the individual. Lying, cheating and stealing becomes the norm, and anybody who tries to fight it gets crushed. Eventually, people forget how to live in any other way.”

    Change “aggressive ethno-nationalism” to “aggressive anti-nationalism” and you’ve described most large American cities.

    No, we’re not Putin’s Russia, but on these bases, we’re close.

  • Paul Marks

    Kirk – I hope you are correct, indeed I pray that you are correct Sir.

    bobby b – sadly so.

    In the past there were times of great economic distress in American cities – for example the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    But most people (most people) in the great American cities were hard working and honest, they went to church, they got married – they raised children in the cultural tradition of the West. The schools were basically sound and parents passed on vital cultural knowledge and traditions of just conduct to their children.

    Not many large cities in the United States have fallen into a societal and cultural decay that is so severe it is essentially a collapse.

    Economically the great cities such as New York and Chicago have no foundation (they are Credit Bubbles) – and societally they have essentially already departed, culturally gone.

    It is not despair to tell the truth about the big American cities – indeed if there is to be any hope of saving the United States, and with it the Western world (for the Western world can not stand without the United States of America) the bitter truth about these places must be honestly faced.