By John Helmer, Moscow
“Vladimir Putin is not the president of my choice”.
This is how the daughter of a powerful apparatchik in Tatarstan begins the book she has just written from London, at a think-tank leading the propaganda war against Russia. The problem for Gulnaz Sharafutdinova (lead image, right), inside her mind, is “the gap between how many of my schoolmates, friends and family back home perceive Putin’s leadership, and how I perceive it.” The problem outside Sharafutdinova’s mind is that she is on the other side in the war against Russia, and she doesn’t want to admit it.
So she has produced the book her employers at King’s College Russia Institute and the Oxford University Press require. Could it be any other way? Could Sharafutdinova keep her job and publishing contract if she explained current anti-Western, in particular anti-American and anti-British sentiment in Russia, as the outcome of the war those two states and the NATO alliance launched against Moscow since 2014?
If, instead, her book had come to the conclusion that all Russians from President Vladimir Putin on down believe everyone would be better off if the Anglo-American warmakers left Russia to evolve on its own, Sharafutdinova, her institute, and her printing press would be impoverished — out of jobs, out of power, out of money. That’s not a judgement they can afford.
The watershed year, Sharafutdinova acknowledges, was 2014. But she blames Putin, not only for having instigated the war against the West, but for expanding and exploiting it for his own schemes of domestic re-election, compensation for his own insecurities, enrichment of his supporters, and “to forge the new Russian collective identity and his own image as a great leader of the Russian nation.”(more…)