Now he is facing a problem he has never encountered before, one that is an awkward fit with his skeptical, K.G.B.-trained mind. Six months into his third presidential term, after a wave of unsettling street protests, Mr. Putin needs an ideology — some idea powerful enough to consolidate the country around his rule.

One of the few clear strategies to emerge in recent months is an effort to mobilize conservative elements in society. Cossack militias are being revived, regional officials are scrambling to present “patriotic education” programs and Slavophile discussion clubs have opened in major cities under the slogan “Give us a national idea!”

Vladimir Putin Pushes Patriotism in Russia –

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