Demonization of Vladimir Putin

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Vladimir Putin

The Demonization of Vladimir Putin is a propaganda campaign of demonizing Vladimir Putin which according to some authors existed in some media and political discourse, mostly in Western countries. The mainstream press releases portrayed Putin as "autocrat", a "KGB thug" accusing him for "killing of political opponents", "rollback of democratic reforms" and for establishment of a "venal regime" of "corruptionism". Putin was frequently compared to Stalin or Sadam Husein. Many United States and Western politicians compared Putin to Hitler. Some authors believe that some powerful sections of USA government and Anglo-American elites are behind this campaign. Many authors criticize demonization of Putin while some authors denied that demonization of Putin existed.

Demonization in Western media

The demonization of Putin in Western media began when he demonstrated his dedication to bring back Russia from the edge of the anarchy and, in particular in front of the British public, after the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.[1][2] Some authors believe that some powerful sections of USA government and Anglo-American elites are behind this campaign.[3]

In a massive campaign launched in Western media to demonize Putin, he was accused for issuing orders for politically motivated murders.[4] Vladimir Putin has been demonized in mainstream press releases that progressively portrayed him as "autocrat", a "KGB thug" accusing him for "killing of political opponents", "rollback of democratic reforms", for establishment of a "venal regime" of "corruptionism" and frequently compared him to Stalin and Sadam Husein.[5] According to Stephen F. Cohen, an American scholar of Russian studies, there is no evidence that such allegations are true or at least completely true.[6] European Union officials demonized Putin more than they demonized presidents of some other countries they also considered autocrats.[7]

In 2014 Prince Charles, Hilary Clinton and Germany's Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble[8] compared Putin with Hitler in the campaign of demonization of Putin at the beginning of the political crisis in Ukraine.[9] Many other people compared Putin with Hitler, including PM of Canada Stephen Harper, the United States Senator John McCain, the junior United States Senator Marco Rubio and many other.[10]

According to some Russia's diplomats, Putin was unfairly demonized after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast.[11]

Demonization in Russia

Putin's KGB connection served as an excuse to condemn him and he was demonized by West and some groups in Russia too.[12] Chris Hutchins explained that Putin was demonized by Russian liberals and Russian counterparts of Western conservatives who portrayed him as anti-democratic KGB automaton.[13]


A former foreign secretary of India Kanwal Sibal believes that the demonization of Putin can not be explained by common sense, taking in consideration his opinion that the international conduct of Putin was much more responsible than conduct of the USA. He emphasize that all faults of Russia pointed by Western leaders can also be found in China which leadership is not demonized the way Putin is.[14] Although Putin is demonized in the West, in China he became very popular.[15]

Cohen emphasized that Putin is so demonized in American media that it can put national security of USA into danger.[16] Henry Kissinger and Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher are among the authors who criticized demonisation of Putin.[17][18] Former United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates emphasized that there is no need to demonize Putin but to focus to Putin's actions inside Russia and toward its neighbors.[19] Henry Kissinger believed that demonization of Putin was not policy, while some authors contradicted his view and emphasized that demonization of Putin and Russia are very much sign of a persistent policy.[20] Some authors believed that demonization of Putin is ironic because he initially pursued pro-Western policy.[21] Some authors believe that Western leaders demonize Putin to draw attention from their own responsibility for Ukrainian crisis to avoid being held accountable for it.[22] Padma Desai called West to end Putinphobia, which is how he and many other authors referred to campaign against Vladimir Putin.[23]

There are authors who deny that Putin has been demonized.[24]

Putin's administration and Foreign Ministry of Russia regularly inform Putin about the demonization campaign aimed against him.[25] Some authors believe that because of demonization of Putin in the Western world, Putin's positions had often been met with skepticism and rejected.[26]


  1. Pushpesh, Pant. Intl Relations In 21St Century. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-07-065562-1. 
  2. Trenin, Dmitriĭ (2008). Toward a New Euro-Atlantic "hard" Security Agenda: Prospects for Trilateral U.S.-EU-Russia Cooperation. CSIS. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-89206-546-2. 
  3. Pepe Escobar. "Why Putin is driving Washington nuts". Asia Times Online. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  4. Rangarajan, S. (2007). Frontline. S. Rangarajan for Kasturi & Sons. p. 14. 
  5. Stephen F. Cohen (2012). "Stop the pointless demonization of Putin". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  6. Stephen F. Cohen (2012). "Stop the pointless demonization of Putin". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  7. Richard Youngs Senior (2009). Energy Security: Europe's New Foreign Policy Challenge. Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-134-02118-5. 
  8. "German Finance Minister compares Putin to Hitler". EurActiv Media Network. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  9. Christopher Booker. "Fresh evidence of how the West lured Ukraine into its orbit". 
  10. Blake, Aaron. "All of these people have compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  11. "Putin being 'demonised' over MH17, ambassador claims". The Telegraph. 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  12. Bruno S. Sergi (2009). Misinterpreting Modern Russia: Western Views of Putin and His Presidency. A&C Black. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-8264-2772-4. 
  13. Hutchins, Chris (2012). Putin. Troubador Publishing Ltd. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-78088-114-0. "Indeed, Russian liberals and Western conservatives alike have demonised Putin as ..." 
  14. Kanwal Sibal. "Why must the West blame all Russia's ills on President Putin?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  15. Shen, Simon; Blanchard, Jean-Marc F. (2012). Multidimensional Diplomacy of Contemporary China. Lexington Books. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-7391-3996-7. 
  16. Stephen F. Cohen (2012). "Stop the pointless demonization of Putin". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  17. Henry A. Kissinger. "Henry Kissinger: To settle the Ukraine crisis, start at the end". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  18. Richard Simon (2014). "Dana Rohrabacher again breaks from most House colleagues on Putin". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  19. Robert Gates (2014). "GATES: RUSSIA IS BUILDING NEW BLOC; U.S. AND EUROPE MUST MOBILIZE". The Denver Post. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  20. Christof Lehmann. "A Response to Henry Kissinger’s advise on US – Russian Relations and the Ukraine". NSNBC International. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  21. Brahma Chellaney (2014). "Averting a second cold war". The Japan Times. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  22. Alastair Sloan (2014). "Ukraine: Lies, propaganda and the West's agenda". Al Jazeera. "And the people of Ukraine have also been betrayed - their push for democracy co-opted by US interests, and their economy having lost up to $80bn, according to latest reports. Will Western leaders be held to account? Probably not if this thundering and incorrect narrative continues to play out across the media. This is why Western leaders are so keen to demonise Putin - it gets them off the hook." 
  23. Padma Desai (2008). "End Putinphobia and try to normalise relations". Financial Times. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  24. Timothy Colton (2013). "Does the West demonize Putin and idealize Yeltsin?". Russia Direct. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  25. Ben Judah (2014). "A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth". Newsweek. Retrieved 9 September 2014. "The President must know how far foreigners demonise him and little bad news is hidden from Putin (AP)" 
  26. Jill Dougherty (2013). "Analysis: Putin scores diplomatic win on Syria". CNN. Retrieved 10 September 2014. ""Mr. Putin's personality has been widely demonized in the Western world, so anything that comes from Mr. Putin will be met not only with skepticism but a lot of people will reject just out of hand anything that Mr. Putin will say," said Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center."