My latest article for The Intersection Project, The psychology behind Russia’s propaganda onslaught, was published soon after Putin spoke before the United Nation General Assembly.
It is part of a loose-knit series, all of which are essentially variations on one central theme: many Russians are suffering from undiagnosed post traumatic stress disorder; Russian state media has essentially weaponized that trauma as a means of maintaining social control and executing otherwise unpopular foreign policy decisions.
I have also covered the nature of Russian humiliation and power obsession as they are manifested through the concept of ‘Ressentiment’. Ressentiment, as previously stated, can be understood as a transference of ones pain, humiliation, inferiority and failure onto a scapegoat. The ego, rather than internalize the implications of weakness, failure, and the emasculating lack of power, creates an enemy, an external evil which can be “blamed” for one’s woes.
As a result, Russians are particularly at a loss to both face the dark chapters in their past, the driving idea behind “‘In other countries, it was more terrible:’ Why Russia won’t heal itself”. Nor can they psychologically assimilate the horrors being committed in modern times, an idea explored here: ‘One Year On: Can Russians ever accept Moscow helped shoot down MH-17.
Russians have, by and large, already managed to turn their government’s decision to veto a United Nations resolution, which would have created an international tribunal to prosecute those who shot down the Malaysian airliner MH17 over eastern Ukraine last year, into a defensive measure. At this point it is easier to imagine the entire world is conspiring to bring Russia to its knees rather than accept that rebel fighters (or even Russian soldiers) could possibly have shot down a civilian airliner. That, despite the fact that Kremlin-friendly media reported that Russian proxies had shot down an AN-26 [military transport plane] in the area immediately after MH17 was downed.
The “flywheel” for Ukraine’s manufactured civil war, Igor Girkin, admitted as much on the same day.
Bearing all of that in mind, I’ve purposed something of a thought experiment. Keeping in mind the two primary sources of Russian trauma being manipulated by state media (the Second World War and the collapse of the Soviet Union), Russia’s inability to accept responsibly for wrongs past or present (and more specifically, how that has manifested itself in Moscow’s decision to veto the establishment of an MH17 tribunal), and Russia’s overall obsession with power and national humiliation, read Putin’s speech and take note of just how many of these concepts were made manifest in the Russian president’s words. For, as much as the Russian elite might manipulate the masses, they are suffering from the same trauma. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: The lunatics have taken over the asylum.