Hannah Arendt, Putin and Today’s Russia

To Inform is to Influence

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By Ralf Fücks, January 17, 2015

Hannah Arendt teaches us that democratic societies are faced with a double threat. One is the systematic blurring of the distinction between truth and lies. The other is the temptation to close one’s eyes and ears to inconvenient truths.

Both of these come into play in understanding and dealing with the conflict in Ukraine.

Regarding inconvenient truths, we do not want to admit that Putin has long since crossed the line into war – a line that, for good reasons, we do not want to cross under any circumstances.

Regarding systematic blurring, we do not want to see the connection between Russia’s internal authoritarianism and outward expansion. It interferes with our illusory hope for a quick return to good neighborliness.

We Europeans also hesitate to take the national-religious tone Putin struck in his recent address to the nation seriously, as…

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