Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Putin’s provocations are met with ridicule in Ukraine

Please read this piece by my colleague Paul Roderick Gregory in The Hill

Dictators fear being ridiculed with humor. Jokes about Stalin were punished by prison or death. In China, a TV anchor was threatened for jokes mocking Mao Zedong. In Venezuela, the Maduro government counts anti-Chavismo satire as punishable by censorship, cancellation or even jail.

In Russia, Putin has signed a law that imposes fines and jail for online material that disrespects the state, the constitution and bodies exercising state power.  

A popular Russian joke goes: “If you criticize the authorities, you’ll be prosecuted under the law against insulting officials. If you praise the authorities, you’ll be prosecuted under the law against fake news.”

The new president of Ukraine, comedian and TV star Volodymyr Zelensky, as a graduate of improvisational comedy, understands the power of lampooning political opponents. This skill earned him an unlikely landslide victory in the crowded Ukrainian presidential race.

Read the full article here.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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