What You Need To Know:
✓ President Putin is not the only one running Russia, according to Zygar;
✓ Those closest to President Putin in his inner circle will never disagree with him;
✓ The Kremlin is fooling itself when propagating ideas within society: “They believe that that’s what society wants them to do. So they started believing in their own propaganda;”
✓ The Kremlin is ok with people fearing Russia: “If you are scared – that means you respect us.”
According to Mikhail Zygar, an influential Russian journalist and former editor in chief of Dozhd, the biggest independent TV-channel in Russia, President Putin is not the only one running the country. In his book titled All the Kremlin’s Men, he presents the Kremlin as a “chaotic system of men and women, trying to guess what Putin wants them to do and simultaneously, Putin is trying to guess what they want him to do.” The author’s findings are based on his many interactions with sources close to the Russian President and his circle in the Kremlin.
Those closest to President Putin in his inner circle will never disagree with him, Zygar insists. In the Fall of 2013 when Putin was sick and out of touch, the Kremlin continued to carry out important decisions without the presence of their leader: “It went unnoticed by the general public, because all the decisions were taken, all the commands were there and they all pretended that he was in place, that he was there. And they were mimicking him very well,” Zygar says.
Zygar is convinced that the Kremlin is fooling itself when propagating ideas within society: “They believe that that’s what society wants them to do. So they started believing in their own propaganda.” Despite this, the idea of anti-Americanism and anti-West in Russia predates Putin’s reign. The President’s public support is attributed to the fact that “people want their country to be a superpower” and that “Russian involvement in Syria is successful so far for Putin because he was trying to show that he is an influential as Barack Obama…and he proved it,” Zygar is convinced.
In terms of international support for President Putin, or lack thereof, Zygar states that the Kremlin is Ok with people fearing Russia: “If you are scared – that means you respect us.”
Hromadske’s Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke to Mikhail Zygar, Russian writer, journalist and former editor in chief of 'Dozhd' TV-channel, in March of 2016 in Kyiv.