On March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a number of amendments to the country’s Constitution, some of which change the procedure for electing the president. The decision not to take into account Putin’s previous terms allows him to become Head of state again. This measure gave an impetus to a wave of discontent among the population, which the official media rushed to smooth out.
Only today Vladimir Putin has become the hero in a great number of publications where he appears in his usual image of a “good king”, a guardian for justice and an implacable fighter with “bad ministers”. According to media reports, Putin today advocated comprehensive protection measures for volunteers to help fight the coronovirus; advised the Russians not to buy food for the future, so that later it would not be thrown away; requested the prosecutor’s office to protect the social rights of citizens more effectively; demanded that law enforcement officers fight the unjustified rise in food prices; worried about crime detection, got surprised at rising gas prices. He also instructed the Cabinet to control the circulation of drugs and urged non-systemic opposition to a constructive approach. In general, he kept up with everything, saw everything, heard everything, distributed instructions to everyone.
Such a picture in newspapers, news agencies and television channels is not created for the first time. After each political step that poses a threat to the rating of the authorities, a stream of laudatory news starts to flow, designed to keep the rating in place. From recent examples, one can recall how the president’s PR support increased markedly after the dissolution of the Government. That was not a surprise, either. In a recent article, we analyzed in detail the amendments to the Constitution. Behind the oily exhortations and promises they hid a right-wing deviation in the domestic politics of Russia. A special place in the amendments is occupied with the term nullification, “appreciated” by the country’s population. This is the biggest issue that has to be justified on the pages of news publications, through drawing the image of a caring “sovereign father” according to familiar patterns.