Daily Bread for 4.27.22: How Putin Conned the Right

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 44.  Sunrise is 5:53 AM and sunset 7:51 PM for 13h 58m 27s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 11.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945,  Benito Mussolini is arrested by Italian partisans in Dongo, while attempting to escape disguised as a German soldier.

As was true of some on the American left by the Soviets, or some on the American right by the Nazis, so now some American conservatives are in Putin’s enthrallment. Shay Khatiri describes How Putin Conned the American Right (‘He carefully planted the seeds for his popularity among conservatives’):

Putin made his first moves in the direction of conservative cultural leadership in 2013. The previous year, President Barack Obama had put social conservatives on a defensive footing by coming out in favor of gay marriage. Then, in 2013, the Supreme Court agreed to hear United States v. Windsor. Six weeks after the oral argument, the Russian Duma passed what would come to be known as the “anti-gay law,” but Putin didn’t sign the bill into law immediately. He let it sit on his desk for three weeks. Days after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, he signed it into law.

Later in 2013, a Kremlin-connected Russian think tank called the Center for Strategic Communications published a report titled, “Putin: World Conservatism’s New Leader.” The document repeated populist talking points that would prove influential during the 2016 presidential election. It rejected “ideological experiments” and called for social stability and conservative family values instead. It characterized immigration as a threat to the nation-state, and it framed Putin as a defender of sovereignty.


Putin’s information strategy is a continuation of the old Soviet information strategy. It prioritizes a large variety of low-cost operations; efforts and resources are multiplied for whichever works best. And just like the Soviet regime before it, Putin’s regime is impotent in understanding American politics, but it is well versed in understanding American societal divisions—and how to exploit them. For years, Putin’s strategy seemed to pay off, as a segment of writers and magazines and broadcasters on the American right praised him, or at least took it easier on him than they otherwise would have. But the war in Ukraine has shown the limits of Putin’s soft power: An overwhelming majority of Americans object to Russia’s invasion and view the Russian leader as a menace and a pariah.

Kyiv demolishes Soviet monument representing Russia-Ukraine friendship:

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