Putin feels provoked by alleged fascists in Kiev. In fact, to the aggressive action provokes him something completely different.
The West is supposed to be decadent and weak. A self-confident bully could imagine that with such a decadent creature it is an easy victory. The problem is that picture is not the product of Moscow’s propagandists, but above all the product of the West itself. This conviction about one’s own decadence comes in many varieties – left-wing, right-wing, liberal and in individual national couleuer. For the Left, Europe is decadent because too „capitalist”, for the right because one discusses to much about „gender” and „gays”, for the part of the Germans because it is too „militaristic”, for part of the French because it is too „pro-American”, for many Poles because the West did not help in 1939 and betrayed Poland at Yalta. The message that Europe is decadent and „old”, arrives also, unfortunately, sometimes from overseas, where uncle Sam looks with a compassion on slaphappy Europeans.
It is no wonder that the Kremlin leadership also has started to believe in this image of Europe and wider the whole West. He also decided to use this weakness this his advantage. Having little understanding of what is democracy and open society, he takes every symptom of Western auto-scepticism and self-doubt for a sign of weakness. In that sense, somebody who talks too much about the decadence of Europe and the West, is also encouraging Putin’s aggression.
Putin , however, is wrong . Neither Europe nor America are as decadent , as often claimed . The decadence is a fashion just for the good weather. The Democracies and open societies interact from its nature slowly to the changing the political situations. Their slow response is due to the need of wider discussion , consensus building , analysis and reflection. But then comes a moment when decisions are necessary, and they are definitely taken . Putin also haven’t taken into account that the European Union has Central Europe – with all its historical experience , which also applies to Russia – already inside. Finally, Putin is confronted unexpectedly for himself with the strength and determination, of the Ukrainians, who despite the extremely difficult situation, are able to consolidate their own state , against all Putin’s attempts to disintegrate it.
Putin’s wrong calculation should not be in any case the reason for triumphalism in the West. Moscow’s propaganda is still effective. One mustn’t necessarily believes its lies that they could prove their effectiveness . These brutal lies are often proclaimed not to convince somebody, but to terrify the opponents, and also in order to find the people who will be trying to justify this absurdities. This supports the army of agents of influence (to be one is not obligatory to be an agent of the KGB / FSB or even be sympathetic to Moscow ) and even larger group of useful idiots . And they are spreading a whole lot of slogans to somehow explain anything the dictator in Moscow could do right or wrong- , ” we need to understand the specifics of the Russian”, „Russia can not be judged accordingly to our own criteria „, „since Americans may be in Afghanistan , why Moscow cannot intervene in the Crimea” etc. or finally “Moscow can afford everything , so do not annoy the bear ”
The greatest harm these service-minded and arrogant idiots are causing to the Russians, identifying Putin with the whole society , which he governs, in fact, in a dictatorial manner. The rallies in support of the Kremlin’s aggression in the Crimea are an expression of disease post-Soviet Russian society and it is possible that this support is extensive and authentic. What , however, is better? Western journalist or Russian ordinary man repeating rubbish about nationalists in Kiev. The latter is at least in some sense justified by the fact that he is stuffed with such things at home. The somebody in the West having unlimited access to all sources of information does not have such an excuse.
Incorrect Putin’s calculation is also dangerous in that sense that for all that it can lead him to the conclusion that Moscow can play on the global poker, because „the decadent West” at some time passes. For this, however, that such a situation does not occur, one must be freed not only from a false ideas of Russia and Ukraine, and of the relationship of the two nations, but also about ourselves as Europe. To beat Putin, to support Ukraine and to provoke for dialogue with Russia and its society, full of a courageous and sensible people, Europe needs a new, broader perspective on what it itself and what it wants to be.