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Vladimir Sorokin on Putin: «I underestimated the power of his madness. He has destroyed Russia.»

The writer Vladimir Sorokin was quoted by the Financial Times as saying he «underestimated the power of madness» of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sorokin also called Putin a «great destroyer.»

«He has ruined everything he's touched,» Sorokin said.

He said he was referring not only to Russia's free press and «democratic parliament,» but also its the economy and «even its army.» «He claims he's lifted Russia from its knees, but really he's just destroyed it,» the writer said.

Sorokin also quoted the painter Salvador Dali, who said that Hitler had started World War II «not to win, as most people think, but to lose.» «I think Putin's the same,» Sorokin stated.

Sorokin described Russians as people «who have been turned into zombies over the last 20 years by state television.» «Now they've got onto tanks and gone off to fight for a cause that only Putin can understand,» the writer said. «Clever people had 20 years to figure out who Putin is. They wallowed in luxury. They traded their conscience for material wellbeing. And now they're reaping the reward.»

According to Sorokin, «the Russian state hasn't really changed since the Middle Ages, the time of Ivan the Terrible.» Therefore, the writer argues, there is nothing surprising in «the barbarities <Russia is committing in Ukraine - The Insider>, these medieval methods of war.»

Sorokin has been living between the Moscow suburbs and Berlin for the past few years, but he left Russia after the war began and has no intention of returning. «Of course, it will be hard - I am connected to Russia not only on the level of language,» the writer says.

«It's natural that culture will have to pay for this carnage. <But - The Insider> I think Russian culture will endure. It's already part of the world's cultural heritage - it's hard to do without it,» the writer concluded.

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