By Paul Goble
One Russian publishing house has just released a translation of a Norwegian book that Vladimir Putin could have written himself, and another Moscow publisher has put out a three volume collection of his public statements that he actually did and that bring him into line with his Soviet predecessors.
Alpina books has just released a translation of Mikal Hem’s “How to Become a Dictator: A Practical Handbook” (232 pp., 978-5-9614-5403-1) (alpinabook.ru/catalog/temporary/75252/). And the Ukrainian Medua portal has posted the section of this book on how dictators should build a cult of personality (meduza.io/feature/2016/06/05/kak-pravilno-sozdat-kult-lichnosti).
Judging from that excerpt, the Kremlin leader could have written this book with even more details than the Norwegian writer provides.
But also this weekend, Moscow’s Zvonitsa publishing house has released three volumes of Putin’s “Direct Speech,” a collection of “all the public speeches of the leader” that will be “useful” for future generations, according to Georgy Zaytsev, the head of that company (ura.ru/news/1052251551). Of course, it may have a more immediate purpose as collections of works by past Soviet leaders often did.
Zaytsev told the media that “First of all, Putin preserved the country, then he lifted Russia from its knees. The personality of Putin is equal to such figures as Charles de Gaulle or Fidel Castro. This is,” he assured those who might buy these three blue-covered volumes, “a portrait of an era.”
Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov added that the current Russian president is “obligated to leave his record in history. He has record popularity within the country and abroad. People trust him.” He cannot do otherwise. Peskov confirmed that the publication of the three volumes had been agreed to by the Presidential Administration.