Long offered because the bare-chested, macho leader who defends Russia towards the West, President Vladimir Putin now has a rather more mystical image in state media.
With elections looming in March, best state-controlled TV channels are roping in religion to cast him as a national saviour who healed Russia’s historical divisions and rescued the nation from chaos.
The major car is a recent documentary on best nationwide channel Rossiya 1 a few monastery extensively concept to be Mr Putin’s favorite – Valaam, on a remote archipelago in northern Lake Ladoga.
Closed under Soviet rule and almost utterly ruined by way of years of forget, Valaam has been rebuilt for the reason that cave in of the USSR, with – because the movie implies – important improve from Mr Putin.
Symbol copyright Rossiya 1 Symbol caption The Rossiya 1 programme depicts the Valaam monastery as a paranormal image of a Russia reborn
Valaam is again and again defined because the “mirror of Russia”. Its restoration from the break inflicted after Global War Two is supposed to be a metaphor for the country’s own adventure under Mr Putin.
Symbol copyright Rossiya 1 Image caption Valaam’s recovery is portrayed as the result of close to-superhuman efforts
The message, repeatedly repeated, is the contrast between the monastery’s former dilapidated and vandalised state and its current splendour – a revival likened to that of Russia from the perceived chaos and nationwide humiliation of the 1990s.
Another habitual subject is that Mr Putin has led Russia back to religion for the reason that Soviet era’s militant atheism, even as additionally healing the rift among people who pine for the USSR’s great-power status and individuals who hark again to Russia’s pre-innovative imperial and Orthodox traditions.
In the film, Mr Putin argues that the seeds of reconciliation were there even within the darkest days, as a result of Soviet troops gave the monks time to collect the monastery’s relics earlier than evicting them all over World Conflict .
He then argues that communism and Christianity are essentially the same thought, and compares the mausoleum of Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin to the Christian tradition of church relics.
Image copyright ALEXANDER UTKIN Image caption Last yr, police cracked down on anti-corruption rallies across Russia
Its core argument was once that the state is the sacred centre of Russian existence, the subject of periodic catastrophes during history, prior to whenever being rescued and revived in new glory by way of divine intervention.
After the October Revolution destroyed the Russian Empire, the conduit for this miracle used to be Joseph Stalin, who created a brand new, wonderful Pink Empire, in line with Prokhanov. That mythology glosses over Stalin’s gross human rights abuses.
After the following perceived disaster – the collapse of the Soviet Union – the saviour was Vladimir Putin, Prokhanov argues, including that the outcome is the newest Russian golden age – the “Fifth Empire”.
Image copyright EPA Symbol caption Some Russians overtly honour Stalin now – after a long time while his name was taboo
With handiest months to go till the 18 March presidential election, all this appears like a part of the Kremlin’s commencing salvoes in Mr Putin’s marketing campaign to win a fourth six-year term.
It might be no twist of fate that the Valaam documentary was once made and presented by way of Andrei Kondrashov, a distinguished journalist lately appointed as Mr Putin’s campaign spokesman.
Despite protests towards corruption closing 12 months and anecdotal evidence of rising discontent at falling living requirements, the narrative of a glorious national revival still appears to be operating with many Russians, with official polls striking Mr Putin’s improve at around 80%.
But the Kremlin nonetheless turns out to be worried. the man broadly observed as Mr Putin’s such a lot powerful challenger, protest chief and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, has been barred from standing, over a prison conviction that many see as a political manoeuvre.
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