The mishmash in people’s heads also comes in a number of flavors. Sometimes, you come across thermonuclear mixtures.
In October, we took a former police investigator who had worked on Petersburg’s major case squad to a round table of European prosecutors in Sofia. The man knows everything about Putin, all the nitty-gritty, all the cases from the early 1990s, the ties with organized crime, the origins of the Ozero Dacha Co-op, and how nearly its entire membership later migrated to the board of Rossiya Bank.
The cop ran the investigation of the Twentieth Trust Corporation, unofficially dubbed the Putin case, until September 2000, meaning when the dude was already president. Subsequently, of course, the case was shut down, and the investigator was put out to pasture.
I can confidently say the former investigator still has the most complete and systematized knowledge of Putin’s background.
In Sofia, however, this same man suddenly went completely off topic and publicly babbled something to the effect Ukraine should have been punished long ago, we will show them all, Russian liberals take orders from the US State Department, and other splendid nonsense.
After the event, I asked him what he had been going on about. He knew perfectly well what a criminal Putin was, but he had apologized for his other crimes.
His response was that in terms of domestics politics Putin was a criminal, but he supported him to the hilt when it came to foreign policy. It was a good thing, he said, Putin was president, and not the investigator himself. Otherwise, something disastrous would have happened to the world long ago, whereas Putin had preserved the peace.
Now that, if I am not mistaken, is a total muddle.
You tell me about a cab driver you once met who watched pro-Putin TV presenters Vladimir Solovyov and Dmitry Kiselyov, but whose favorite politician was Vladimir Ryzhkov, a well-known member of the liberal opposition and former MP.
That is mere child’s play.
Translated by the Russian Reader