“It’s Not 1937 Or Anything”

Among the greatest hits of Vladimir Putin’s annual live call-in show (which was shorter than usual this year at 3 hours 58 minutes) were his declarations that he does not wish to be president-for-life and that Russia will surely come to a “mutual understanding” with Ukraine, his references to southern and eastern Ukraine as “novorossiya” (new Russia, following tsarist usage), and his laughing remark that he would not seize Alaska because it is too cold.  Less noticed was his take on Russian memory politics: “it’s not 1937 or anything.”   In other words, what is there to complain about when the state is not executing hundreds of thousands and sending millions to the gulag!  Life is good!

(Hat tip to Anne Applebaum via rferl.org live blog; she also has an article on Slate.com explaining “Putin’s New Kind of War”: “forget D-Day or ‘shock and awe’: the Kremlin is reinventing invasions with thugs, criminals, and lies”)

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