The Story of Russia: an antidote to the self-serving myths peddled by Putin

Orlando Figes explodes the Russian leader’s notion that his country and its neighbours are a civilisation built on shared values

Supporters celebrate Vladimir Putin’s tainted election victory in 2012. Photo by Alexander Nemenov via Getty

Neil Robinson

Vladimir Putin was in trouble in early 2012. The Russian economy had not recovered from the economic crisis that hit it in 2008. His corrupt and inept political party, United Russia, had only secured ‘victory’ in the December 2011 parliamentary elections through massive and blatant fraud. This provoked huge demonstrations across Russia but Putin went to win in the March 2012 presidential elections because he faced no serious opposition and because he too would cheat at the polls. But how could he minimise protest over fraud, legitimate the suppression of any protest that did happen and cast himself as Russia’s saviour?