By STEVEN LEE MYERS and ALISON SMALE 29 minutes ago
Russia acknowledged significant operations in several regions abutting Ukraine on Thursday, even as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany assailed the Kremlin’s actions in some of her toughest language yet.
It is this reputation for humor and self-deprecation with his staff and the press that has, at least partially, ensured the laudatory coverage that greets him everywhere he goes. And is it ever laudatory. Check Twitter after a story of his goes online, and it’s like the Internet has emptied the thesaurus of all words relating to “genius.”
The adulation that the New Yorker editor receives from writers doesn't have anything to do with the New Yorker being one of last good-paying gigs left for writers.
IC: You mention his lack of Marxist-Leninism. Do you think he has any ideology?
DR: Yes, I do. I think initially there was not an ideology. He is a state builder. It was all about reasserting the Russian state. But what you see since his return to power is a distinctly conservative Russian ideology, which you might call “Putinism.” What is it? It is a dog’s breakfast ideologically. He is capable of quoting Stolypin, Solzhenitsyn, and any number of people from the Russian or Russian Orthodox past, where useful.
The anti-gay law is an aspect of this. In Stalinist times, as Masha Gessen points out, the convenient other was the Jew, or people from the Caucasus, but mainly Jews. For one reason or another, Putin is not hostile to Jews as such.
IC: He is a forward-thinking guy.
DR: He is very flexible there and we all thank him for that. In Russia, the level of homophobia is extremely high, and so there it is.