He’s a new type on the block, and governed very much by the credo of “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”, and the Kremlin loves him.
Not because he’ll sing the praises of the Putin regime, because that would be just too weird, even for them. Instead, he’s big into drawing parallels between the Russians and the West. The Russians have a leader who is willing to stand up to the West, and the West doesn’t like it, that sort of thing. Putin is far more popular with his own people than Obama is, he’ll casually announce, which is certainly more achievable if you can actually ban your opponents from TV or purely coincidentally live in a country with a curiously high casualty rate amongst journalists critical of the state.
He’ll be quick to dismiss NATO as being as bad as Al Qaeda, or that there’s no difference between Russian and Western democracy. Well, that goes without saying. After all, we’ve all had to stay up late on election night in Russia to see who has won. I wonder what party will win the next, say, three Russian presidential elections?
And that’s just the lefty ones. Then there’s the ones on the right, who twenty five years ago would have been shouting at pro-Russians to “go home to Moscow!” Now, Russia is a country that isn’t afraid to be patriotic and “traditional” (i.e. beating up the odd poofter), and so what if they refuse to mollycoddle blacks or Muslims or Jews like we do in the West. At least he’s listening to his people, they’ll declare, using pretty much the same argument the old segregationists of the 1950s used to use.
And of course don’t get him started on the EU, or the EUSSR as he blurts out with a smile at his cleverness. Every time Putin has a go at the EU our friend feels a stirring in his nether regions. Of course, if the EU announced it wanted to show the same “strong leadership” over Europe that Putin has over Russia he’d be the first to the barricades banging on about democracy.
They’re easy enough to spot. Just watch them retweeting stuff from Russia Today. Which they say is Russia’s version of the BBC. Because, as we know, no British government has ever been criticised by the BBC, or indeed tried to stop the BBC doing things. Ever.