Embrace Russians, Dethrone Putin
I never understood the idea of hating the people for the policies of the government that represents them. Afghans are not Taliban, MAGA is not America, Hindu nationalists are not India, Palestinians are not Hamas, Jewish Supremacists are not Israelis and Russians are not Kremlin. You do not take the vile part of society and paint the whole nation of people with the same brush.
It is sick, vile and stupid.
Just because a lot of us do it does not make it right.
This ideology, blaming the normal for the actions of the abnormal, play well into the hands of the few who thrive on isolationism and nativism. This is racism in a different bottle.
Putin consistently communicates to Russians that the world, particularly the West, is intent on their destruction. His message revolves around the idea of unity in Russia to overcome external adversaries.
Hitler played on German pride and anger about the Treaty of Versailles, which cost Germany a lot after World War I. He vowed to make Germany powerful again and get back lost land.
Like Hitler, Putin uses nationalism, but without the same historical resentment. He claims Russians are threatened and needs protection. This idea led to conflicts in Georgia, Crimea, and the Donbas, culminating in the Ukraine war. Kremlin justified these actions by saying it was defending Russian citizens and Russian-speakers in these regions. This narrative frames Russia as responding to injustice against its people, requiring national action against perceived external threats.
Many criticize Russians for not protesting against Putin. But let’s look closer. Since the Ukraine invasion, up to 920,000 Russians have left their country. Isn’t that a form of protest? They’re fleeing potential danger, economic troubles, or forced military service. May be they made choice for safety and may be they left for moral reasons. But either way, the refused to fight Putin’s war.
Sabine Fischer, a senior fellow in the Eastern Europe and Eurasia Research Group, skillfully broke down the various aspects of the Russian situation for us.