I sometimes wonder what Путин must make of the Western media obsession with him.
Do his ears burn each day with all the new articles, broadcasts, social media mentions – the myriad voices, guided by the Western political and media establishments, speculating, characterizing, creating – “Putin”?
It is unlikely that Путин is indifferent to the “Putin” spectacle as there are often statements by his proxies or himself that deny or contest reports in the Western press – or, request never-forthcoming evidence to back up incessant and unsubstantiated allegations.
Путин has been meticulously translated into the lifeworld of Western alphabets as caricature, a larger than life, Hollywood nemesis, woven out of an echo chamber of narrative clichés.
As with other mythological creatures, the poets elaborate the “Putin” tapestry by which we interpret the world. This mythos, distinct from the disinterested integrity of knowledge, operates unconsciously, at the level of mass psychology, amidst the zeitgeist. In this context, “Putin” becomes a trigger word for a nexus of prescribed, automatic feeling.
In the end, the conjuration of “Putin” is orchestrated according to the desires of the prevailing configuration of Western political power – and not by evidentiary truth. It is not meant to reveal Путин, but to disseminate “words that kill” that will erase him and his lifeworld.
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