[adsense]Moscow, Russia – Emboldened by the quick takeover of Crimea and now other areas of the Ukraine, Russian citizens eagerly called in to President Putin early today to discuss Russia’s global growth and reestablishment as a superpower.
The most disturbing, chilling question from the event came from a pensioner, Faina Ivanovna, on a phone call: “President Putin, it is time for Russia to take back Alaska. Can you lead our forces and annex Alaska, it is ours?”
Without missing a beat, Vladimir Putin laughed in response, “Not yet, it is still too cold there. Faina, my dear, do we need Alaska right now?”
He then said, “We have a northern country — 70 percent of our territory are already in the north and the far north. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, at least for now.”
The most disturbing thing about the exchange, is that the crowd ‘erupted into raucous applause’ with the mention of Russia invading the United States. The second most disturbing thing is Putin’s response, to which he did not say no but instead “it’s too cold there right now.”
The people of Russia are nationalizing behind Putin’s campaign of ‘recreating Russia’s former glory’. There are talks that Putin plans to ‘reabsorb the old states into a New Russia’, effectively recreating the Soviet Union.
Russians have felt downtrodden since the collapse of communism and botched attempts at capitalism have left many in the country in relatively desolate conditions compared to the more powerful G7 countries.
The environment of Russia right now is very similar to 1930s Germany. The people are ripe for a cause and pride, and Putin is providing it in historically terrifying manner: scapegoating, warmongering, nationalism and militarization.
Alaskan officials were told of the news conference a week ahead of time, and officials from the Kremlin asked the stations to prepare several questions for Putin’s call-in. Several days before the event, the stations report a message from the Kremlin came saying their ‘questions are no longer welcome in Russia’.