In the summer of 1999, Boris Yeltsin, then the first President of Russia, had an approval rating of 2%.
In the midst of a financial scandal, he would be forced to resign in just a few months. His deputy and appointed heir, Vladimir Putin, then an unknown former KGB colonel, stood no chance of succeeding him. The country was ready for someone new.
Then, suddenly, everything changed.
A series of bombings started to go off in apartment complexes across Russia.
More than 200 people were killed and the government, such as it was, blamed Chechen terrorists, with no evidence whatsoever. Putin was put in charge of what became The Chechen War against terror. Dedicated to restoring “law and order,’ he was elected, against all odds, as the next President of Russia.
Subsequent investigations have shown that it was more than likely that Putin himself, the former KGB master, had orchestrated the bombings himself. They were designed to distract public opinion away from the rampant corruption that had been a hallmark of the Yeltsin/Putin administration, and unify the county under a ‘strong man’ who would be the answer to their palpable fear.
Having frightened the Russian people sufficiently, Putin consolidated power, and as we can see some twenty years later, he has no intention of leaving that office. Ever, apparently.
Now, as a sometime student of modern Russian history (thank you Oxford), I cannot help but wonder if the sudden explosion of violence in our own cities — rioting, burning cars on the nightly news, etc… are not in some way an American version of the Putin Plan for Power.
Not to be overly paranoid, but at 3 in the morning, I cannot help but wonder if it is not possible that the sudden explosion of rioting in the streets, endless nightly images on TV of burning cars and burning buildings is not the Putin Plan being put into action?
In a world driven by Reality TV, having produced them myself for years — anything is possible.
Just ask the people in Russia who thought, having gotten rid of the Communist regime, thought they were headed for a golden age of democracy.
As Anne Applebaum will tell you, democracy is a very fragile thing that must be constantly defended.
*Just a tiny footnote here. It seems that the shooting and violence at the Kenosha protest marches last night were carried out not by the BLM people, but by a member of a right wing militia group shooting into the crowds. Hmmm….