Robert Cormack

10 months ago · 4 min. reading time · ~10 ·

Robert blog
Putin Goes To Hollywood.

Putin Goes To Hollywood.

Is “Succession” explaining Russia's leader better than the media?

In modern war, you will die like a dog for no good reason.” Ernest Hemingway

It’s been another week of Putin intrigue, between ordering the bombing of Dnipro — killing 40 in one apartment building alone — to shuffling his generals like they’re marked cards, and probably are, in a way.

The bombings themselves aren’t hard to figure out. Russia has always taken out citizenry first, hoping morale will drop so low, the army won’t have to embarrass itself in actual battle.

Unfortunately, they’ve gone that route too many times before in Ukraine.

Since the early part of the twentieth century, Russia has beaten Ukraine into submission, through direct intimidation, killings, famines, pogroms, anything they could think of to destroy ukrainification.

You can propagandize the crap out of Russia, and still not come up with better terms than denazification or destroying ukrainification.

It’s a term someone came up with, meaning Ukraine as a separate country or state. Bolsheviks have always hated ukrainification, and Putin does, too.

He’d rather call it de-ukrainification or denazification, but it’s splitting hairs. The terms are interchangeable in some respects, and both have terrible histories.

Between them, they’ve killed millions of people. Not that Russians are particularly embarrassed by this. Ukraine should be grateful. Didn’t Russia prevent Ukraine from becoming one big food farm for the German war machine in ‘44? The fact that Russians took most of the food for themselves was just quid pro quo. Nothing is free in this world.

When Putin replaced Sergey Surovikin, former commander of Russia’s air force, with General Staff Valery Gerasimov, it certainly raised a few muscovite eyebrows. Last February, hadn’t Gerasimov been responsible for leaving miles of tanks and trucks in a typically ill-planned incursion, attempting to take Kyiv in a matter of weeks?

And wasn’t Surovikin responsible for shoring up the troops in the Donbas, making an actual army out of recruits who didn’t know why they were there in the first place?

The Wagner troops are animals, and Putin likes animals in theory. But it’s possible he’s just using them to clear his prisons of psychopaths and mafia craphounds.

Then there’s the Wagner group, a bunch of mercenaries — many taken from Russian prisons — who now claim to have taken Soledar, a salt-mining town of 10,000, now reduced to rubble. The Wagner troops are animals, and Putin likes animals in theory. But it’s possible he’s just clearing his prisons of psychopaths and mafia craphounds.

Four of the top mafia leaders have already been killed, and that’s a load off Putin’s mind. You could call it a “cleanse” of sorts. If you’re going to have dead bodies, why not criminals who should die like rabid dogs, anyway?

Nobody will miss them, least of all Putin.

It’s all seedy in one way or another. Wars are seedy. They show people on the low road, and Putin is on the lowest road of all.

Like his predecessors, Putin still sees Ukraine as a region needing to be saved from themselves. Didn’t they actually greet the Nazis in ‘44? Didn’t they have their own SS divisions?

Putin doesn’t mind fiddling with the truth if it serves his purposes, and right now it does. That’s the thing about wars. They allow for reconstruction, mostly of thinking. In its aftermath, the survivors and winners can say what they want. Everyone’s too numbed by the brutality and senselessness of war to care one way or the other.

It’s like something out of Groundhog Day. It’s a movie, sure, but sometimes movies are more prescient than the real deal.

But that’s history ignoring history. If you do that, you repeat it. It’s like something out of Groundhog Day, a movie, sure, but sometimes movies are more prescient than the real deal.

My wife and I have been watching the series “Succession.” It’s the story of a media mogul whose need to control everything — including his family — turns everyone against each other.

By the fourth episode, I turned to my wife and said, “There’s absolutely nobody here I like.”

If “Succession” is an allegory of business — or war — they’ve done a hell of a job. Logan, the patriarch, played brilliantly by Brian Cox, is so profoundly evil, I’m surprised anyone cares if he lives or dies.

Strangely, Logan’s heart attack demonstrates they do. They sit 24-hour vigils, they ball their eyes out. Yet, when his daughter comes to his bedside, we’re shocked when he maneuvers her hand down to his crotch.

Logan uses his family to do his dirty work, much like Putin uses his army. If these people fail to do their master’s bidding, they’re gone, history, toast.

Logan is Putin, or Putin is Logan. Between the two of them, they’ve proven that everyone’s corruptible. Logan uses his family to do his dirty work, much like Putin uses his army. If these people fail to do their master’s bidding, they’re gone, history, toast.

It’s the way of the demigod, the harsh backlash suffered by anyone who can’t make them proud. As “Succession” suggests, you can’t please demigods, which is supposed to keep everyone on their toes.

In one episode, when Logan thinks someone in the family is talking to the press, he forces three members of his inner circle on their knees, and tells them to oink and fight over a sausage. It’s as evil as you’re going to get, but that’s what triers and climbers are willing to do.

You can beat them like mules, and they still come back wanting more.

They’ll do what they’re told regardless of whether they’re promoted or found in a ditch somewhere.

Looking at Putin’s generals the other night, they’ve got the look of mules, too. They’re dead-eyed and hopeless, dragged down by medals and no end of missteps.

They’ll do what they’re told regardless of whether they’re promoted or sent to a gulag for further “instruction.”

Supposedly, having this kind of dumb loyalty is all you need to be a leader these days.

Or so it seems in Hollywood or in Russia.

Perception — even in its lowest form — is everything.

If youve enjoyed my little missive, please consider subscribing. We do this for the love of writing, but its nice earning a few bob now and then. Supposedly, you can also tip. Im not exactly sure how it works, but its an interesting idea.

Robert Cormack is a satirist, blogger and author of “You Can Lead A Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive).”


Robert Cormack

10 months ago #2

Ken Boddie

10 months ago #1

Satire at its most entertaining, Rob. While your perceptions and pontifications on Putin and his postering apostles are positively and definitively derogatory and disparaging, they are also humiliatingly hilarious. Putin … every hitman’s ultimate target. ☠️

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