Historically, when Vladimir Putin gives a dire warning, it turns out to be correct.
I don’t think anyone in America is able to see this so clearly.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Sunday described the United States as a country gripped by a “deep internal crisis” and attributed it to what he said was a refusal by opponents of President Trump to accept his “obvious” 2016 election victory and his legitimacy as leader.
Russia and before that the Soviet Union, he said, always had “lots of sympathy for the fight of African-Americans for their natural rights.” But, Mr. Putin said, when protests “turn into mayhem and pogroms, I see nothing good for the country.”
He described the pulling down of statues as “undoubtedly a destructive phenomenon” and claimed that protests had at times been infected by “radical nationalism and extremism.”
America’s “longstanding” problem with racism, Mr. Putin said, had aggravated a deep crisis of legitimacy that “we have been observing for a long time.” Instead of accepting that Mr. Trump “obviously won in an absolutely democratic way,” supporters of Hillary Clinton “came up with all sorts of fables to cast doubt on his legitimacy,” he said.
Mr. Putin’s comments were broadcast Sunday evening on state television after a weekly television news digest that gave a picture of relentless mayhem on American streets. The host, Dmitri Kiselyov, suggested that the United States today resembles the Soviet Union as it stumbled toward collapse at the end of 1991.
“This is their perestroika,” said Vladimir Solovyov, the host of a Sunday night talk show, referring to the chaotic process of reform that Mikhail S. Gorbachev began in the mid-1980s. His goal was to revive the Soviet Union, but it ultimately led to its destruction.
Contrasting Russia’s response to the pandemic with that of the United States, Mr. Putin said, “We are exiting the coronavirus situation steadily, with minimal losses, God willing, but in the States it isn’t happening like this.”
Russia’s handling of the coronavirus, he said, has proved the importance of having a “single team” in control of the country instead of a fragmented system, as in the United States. There, he said, governors are free to tell the president to “get lost,” and “partisan interests are put above the interests of the whole society and the interests of the people.”
You get the impression of a man trying to very gently coax you into noticing that there is a giant poisonous spider crawling on your face.
“Like, don’t freak out or anything, but your government and population are both at war with themselves, and basically, everyone thought that something so fragile that it would crumble if you sneezed on it was just a metaphor until you got sneezed on with the bat flu and started partying like it was 1991.”
“Except, when the Soviet Union collapsed, there was at least a unified native demographic to reboot from. Your country makes the Yugoslavs look like one unified people.”
That’s pretty much how I would translate his dry, Slavic understatements into the sort of brash, Trumpian hyperbole that readers are used to processing.
And that’s basically what’s going on.