Putin’s Gambit

Putin’s radiating cloud of unknowing (disinformation) serves another purpose. Not only is he seeking to serially mislead the long-suffering peoples of his nation, he is aspiring to ever more closely bind their subjective self-identities to the political fate of his ideological position. If the identities and corollary systems of belief of the people of a nation become closely aligned and self-defined as being in lock-step with their autocratic leadership, then all offense and disagreement against the political system can quite easily be interpreted by them as an affront and heresy upon the very people that the despots mislead and exploit. A totalitarian dream: to make the literal bodies of the people into an extension and deployed organ of the state; when the state suffers, the people suffer in perception but when the people suffer in fact – as in war – the state cultivates historical, often hysterical, fictions of self-inflicted grievance to blind them to its complicity. Putin is very good at playing this game but, ironically, it is an atavistic practice and Machiavellian ritual of pre-modern power that is both redundant atavism and grotesque absurdity in our current era.

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