|Liberal democracy is based on the idea of citizens’ active participation in the governance of the society. The society is subject to the choice of the citizens, as expressed in elections, through the freedom of expression, through free media. Putin’s statement on the end of liberalism, echoes an article, published in February 2019 by a Kremlin aide, Vladislav Surkov. Mr. Surkov describes the advantage of Putin as an enlightened ruler, before democracy – or “the battle of bastards” as Mr. Surkov has it:
[Putin’s] ability to hear and understand the people, see it right to its depths and act accordingly – this is the unique and most important characteristic of the State of Putin. This corresponds with the people and is in line with its ambitions and is not subject to any of history’s counter currents. This is efficient and lasting.
We see how pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets are busy describing any expression of popular discontent as staged protests, results of the scheming of the shadow rulers. Sometimes NATO is the culprit, at other occasions, George Soros is to blame. Of course it can also be the West in general, that ignites protests, or Global Influence Groups. The Society of the Round Table is just a fresh addition to the selection of Puppet Masters, featured in pro-Kremlin media.
Conspiracies are all about disempowering the citizens. “There’s no point in voting; there’s no point in protesting, the Deep State, the Corporations, George Soros, the Lobbyists control it all”. Well, better to have it the Surkov way, with a benevolent ruler, only working for the good of his people.
But the disinformation operatives do not really dare to rely entirely on complicated and intriguing conspiracy theories. Common, straight-forward lying is still employed. Using screen shots from five year old videos is one way to spice up the news in the absence of facts. Or pretending an interview from 2014 with a US intelligence official is about current events in Georgia. Distorted statements by officials, persistent repeating old, refuted, lies… The entire disinformation toolbox is put at work.
The European Council President, Donald Tusk, commented on Mr. Putin’s views on the liberal democracy: