I am an enthusiast on politics in Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and Middle Asia, especially in post Uni Soviet countries.
Western medias like DW, New York Times, etc usually criticize (in negative sense) Vladimir Putin and what he has done to the Russia and the world. For them, Putin leadership seems to be dictatorship, undemocratic, and so on. Regarding their ideologies, it may be true but that’s not the point. The point is people have different ideologies and views. You can judge anything but you have to understand first on what foundation your judgement stands.
I, as a man who does not believe in democracy and even not against some dictatorship forms of government, want to explain what Putin means to Russia. Western seem to demonize Putin too much and they don’t see what Putin means to Russia. Why they are people who still honor and admit him as a president of Russian Federation.
Russia has difficult time when switching to capitalizm
Rusia, as a post Soviet country, had to face transition from socialist government to capitalist one. It not as easy as you may seem. In a socialist country, people do not manage money for themselves, government does that. People do not have land, government has that. So, when the Soviet Union collapsed, people in Russia had to try a new way of life; to have money, to not rely on the government, etc.
In that era, poverty and violence spread in Russia. Mafia, gangster, etc were somethings.
Boris Yeltsin was blamed for the poverty in Russia after the collapse. He could not manage the country. People suffered and government were failed.
Then, at the end of the 20th country, Putin came and brought new hope for Russian people.
Western still humiliated Russia after the collapse
When suffering from the collapse, Russia did not gain western’s concern much. People suffers and the world who demand them just ignored. That was a betrayal. After losing the war, Russia had to lost their dignity.
Western should be friends with Russia and respect its territory not just expanding NATO in Eastern Europe. NATO was a military alliance to counter the Soviet Union but the Soviet has gone forever. So, why they still concerns about Russia.
So, what happens if your country was humiliated by your former enemies. For me, I will defend my country’s honor. So did Putin. Putin is the president who have bravery to criticize West and make the change. So, he offers to turn back the dignity while Western is giving humiliation by expanding their territory.
Putin understand what’s Russian people’s desire
Putin actually has kind of understanding about people’s desire. It may seem to be political but it is. In any government, politics utilize what people want in order to gain the power. From dictatorship governments like Hitler to democratic one like John F. Kennedy, all of them did. So, it is not about right or wrong, it is about the need; the need of the desire or not.
Putin tries to revive the pride of being Russia. The glory of Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. If you didn’t agree with what he tries, you can imagine that your country was a great nation, with all of the greatness in your opinion. Then, suddenly all of it were vanished and subtituded with poverty, criminals, and indignity. After that, some one came and said, “We will rebuild our country and make it great again. Let the World honors us again as once before.” What you will think? For me, I must admit that I will say the man has a great ambition, I will follow him even he has some flawness. All in all, Putin is the man who tries to do all of this.
Many younger generation may did not support or even hate him but you have to understand that Russia is not a country where the population grows. Population growth is Russia problem since the Soviet Union, maybe after the WW2. So, the older generation who has bad experience because the collapse and Yeltsin’s presidency or has good experience in Soviet era, may see Putin is not as bad as what the younger think. So, it is rational to claim that Putin has large supporters.
Long Term Leader is not something strange in Soviet history
If you read history about Soviet Union and Russian-before, you can see that many of the leader seem to hold terms very long.
After the collapse of Soviet Union, some countries still have that even though the leaders chosen through election just like what democracy says. Kazakhstan for example, Nursultan Nazarbayev had hold his position since Kazakhstan being part of Soviet Union in 1984* till 2019 when he resgined from his position. Imagine he did not resign, maybe he could be the leader till he died or having Alzheimer.
If Putin has twenty years in power or even twenty five years, I think it is something not strange.
*in 1989 he was succeeded but after the independence of Kazakhstan he hold back.
Russia is not a Native-Democratic Country
Being a democratic country is not just about to change the system and that was all about. It takes time. It needs patience. Gorbachev and Yeltsin had tried and what happens? The Soviet Union collapsed and the goverment failed.
So, Russian had to not just take Western democracy but they have to modifiy and make it suits. Even Putin’s regime seem to be undemocratic, we have to understand that government have problems with democracy so why they want to try again? They need to be more creative. Not just applying but adapting.
Westerns may criticize Putin or Russian Government but they can’t just critize and not giving something to admit. Westerns have to understand that Russia is Russia. Russian is not like them. Russia and Russian people have their own journey to build the nation. Putin is just the part of journey.
There are problems in building a nation especially when we want to make something different. Putin may be a problem but it is not about perfectness instead about trial to make something better without repeating the failure,
Russia had twice tried and failed and now they try again with different ways. When you have failed once, you can not just try it again, you have to make it different so did Russia. They failed twice and now they are trying something different.
Every country has their own ways to solve their problems to make better living. People evolve so do their countries so does Russia. For Westerns, it seem to be undemocratic, authoritarian, and so on. But it is the way it is. Let them solve their own problems with their own ways.
These are not reference, just for further information