Turkey’s hosting of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine was perhaps the most important event of March 2022. Before the meeting, there was a lot of talk in the media about Russian oligarchs who came to Istanbul, perhaps as a back-door diplomatic effort. I do not know how much their arrival contributed to the talks, because it is a well-known fact in the world that there is a strong connection between oligarchs and Putin.
Putin, the unwavering symbol of tyranny, was aware of the elements in Russia that he had to bring under control as soon as he came into office, perhaps even before that:
- Homeland Security and Intelligence
- Mafia and Illegal Forces
- Russia’s richest aka Oligarchs
Not only that he controlled all of these oligarchs, but he also considered them as his own, treated them equally, and assigned them both to positions in Russia and abroad. There were times when he even coordinated them. After a while, he amassed cyber-attack teams. As revealed by numerous documents and events, these were not conspiracy theories but reality. Unfortunately, Putin’s attitude distorted the perception of “evil government but good-hearted people” of the Soviet era, leading major film studios to portray Russians as always the bad guys in movies.
In a film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger during the Soviet era, an American asked him, “Are you Russian?”. “No, I am Soviet,” he replied. That film showed the audience the general character of the Soviet people behind the Iron Curtain, poor but honest, devoted to their homeland and their nation.
Although I have never been interested in communism, I have to admit how far ahead the time of the USSR compared to its time, as I always keenly appreciated the art and culture of the Iron Curtain countries.
“Poor but Honourable People of the USSR…”
Today, the behaviour, dressing styles and social conduct of Russians in holiday resorts, their general attitudes in restaurants, the fact that they see sports as a battle that must be won, and their doping scandals have unfortunately caused their global perception as “bad guys” to get even worse.
The Soviet Union used to be feared but respected. Today Russia is still being feared but also hated and disrespected.
Although Putin seems like he is making efforts to create a stronger stance for his country compared to that of the USSR, he made the mistake of thinking that “I am Russia” over time. His behaviour and decisions today are perceived as he is trying to avenge the dissolution of the USSR. He is on his way to become another tyrant in Russian history after Stalin. Interestingly, though, he is quite aware of what he is doing. All of his actions show that he thinks “This is what the world deserves, even if it’s not the right thing for me to do”.
So far, Turkey has made all the correct diplomatic decisions for its own benefit and in favour of people suffering in Ukraine. I believe in the saying “It is better to get tired for peace than to be at war”. However, I think we have all realised that it is difficult to achieve peace with Putin.