Because we haven't spent enough time plumbing the depths of the psyche of Vladimir Putin this month, he offers us more diagnostic fodder.
Speaking at the international conference at Valdai, Russia—which, if we're honest, is just a glorified session of reading the magic eight ball that is Putin—he let us know some things.
For one thing, he "does not exclude" running for a fourth presidential term, which would extend his reign through 2024. Nor does he "exclude" granting amnesty to the more than two dozen people on show trial for the violent demonstrations that took place on the eve of Putin's most recent inauguration. (As a Russian friend of mine once said, "Putin never excludes anything.")
He said that Russians' criticism of Russia "without love for the Fatherland is humiliating."
He said that "Syria already considers itself a signatory on the chemical weapons treaty" and that "this is a practical step."
And then he said the following: "Berlusconi is on trial now because he lives with women. If he were a homosexual, they wouldn't have laid a finger on him."
More from the Journal's report:
In Thursday’s speech, Mr. Putin criticized Euro-Atlantic countries for straying from what he called “Christian values that form the basis of Western civilization” by pursuing policies that deny what he described as traditional identities.
“Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a single-sex partnership, faith in God and belief in Satan,” Mr. Putin said.
“Excesses of political correctness have reached the point that serious consideration is being given to the registration of parties whose aim is to promote pedophilia,” he said. Mr. Putin was referring to a court in the Netherlands that earlier this year overturned a ban on a pro-pedophilia association there.
The Russian president cautioned that the phenomenon is a “direct path to degradation and primitivization, to a deep demographic and moral crisis.” He said people in many European countries are “embarrassed and afraid to speak about their religious beliefs.”
As I've written earlier, this is indeed how Putin and many Russians see the problem: that homosexuality is a Western import, one that degrades the fabric of (newly) Christian Russia. That, in the West, there is a powerful gay cabal that protects its own and crushes its religious critics. That people are so scared to offend gays and other minorities, that they lie and say it's normal even though they all know it's not. That the culture of political correctness, which most Russians believe is not a product of historical striving for tolerance, is nothing but a bullshit machine. That political correctness is not about acceptance, but about being false and lying to yourself about the world around you. And that Russians are just the only ones who see things as they are and who call things by their real names.
Because in Putin's worldview, Berlusconi—Putin's friend and political model—is just a man doing what "natural" men do. ("Natural" is the loaded Russian term for "heterosexual.") But the world, caught up in the vice of the gay cabal, now stigmatizes the manly, heterosexual thing that should be celebrated and celebrates the "non-traditional" thing that should be stigmatized.
I feel bad for Putin. He lives in confusing times.