Increasingly it seems that a cult following is developing within Russia regarding its current leader Vladimir Putin, reports The Globe and Mail.

The former KGB agent now President has an approval rating higher (70%) than his American counterpart George W. Bush. Books and songs have been dedicated to him and Russians seem to think he has brought respectability back to the Kremlin after years of bungled bureaucracy and sordid corruption.

But apparently unlike past Russian icons such as Lenin and Stalin, Putin reportedly wants no hero worship and discourages such reverence.

Historically totalitarian Communist regimes have produced quite a few personality cults such as China’s Chairman Mao, Kim Il Sung “The Great Leader” of North Korea and Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam.

Interestingly, when Stalin died, despite his brutality the people of Russia wept. And in North Korea today even though much of the population suffers from starvation they still appear to be loyal followers of “The Dear Leader,” Kim Il Sung’s son.

Putin is wise to discourage such hero worship. Historically, personality cults have not served Russian well, from the times of the Czars to its era of Commissars. Statues of Lenin are now toppled throughout the former Soviet empire and Stalin is viewed as almost Satanic. Putin can leave a more lasting legacy by acting as an agent for positive change rather than an icon.


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