June 23, 2024

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Putin Rewrites History to Justify His Dependence on China

1 min read

Vladimir Putin has typically presented himself as a Russian nationalist, so his recent foray into the Middle Ages must have surprised his supporters. In a speech on Nov. 3, Mr. Putin lauded the Mongol rulers of the Golden Horde, the successor state to Genghis Khan’s empire, for saving Russian lands from Western influences. Until now, Russians saw the 2½ centuries of Mongol rule as a period of national humiliation, a yoke that arrested the country’s development and accounted for its perennial backwardness. In a dramatic reversal, Mr. Putin spun a new narrative to justify wrenching Russia away from Western values and toward a brutal autocratic rule.

Throughout his 24 years in power, Mr. Putin developed a large imperial wardrobe, donning the mantles of various Russian rulers as it suited the occasion. Shortly into his reign, Mr. Putin presented himself as Pyotr Stolypin, an early 20th-century socially conservative but economically progressive Russian reformer. As the time came to crack down on opposition, he evoked Joseph Stalin and Nicholas I, one of the most repressive Russian czars. When Russia invaded Ukraine, he praised Peter the Great for expanding the Russian empire.

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2023-11-24 14:29:00

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