In the early days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in March, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel made a widely reported comment that Vladimir Putin was "living in another world". The point being that the statements that were being made by the Kremlin were so completely untrue that they had literally no basis in reality.
Over the past few months we have started to become used to Russian propaganda: astroturfing, Putintrolls, and all the rest of it, but nevertheless, no matter how vehemently propagated, the Kremlin position remains completely at odds with objective, evidence based truth. The well funded Russian propaganda machine is slick, well presented and almost entirely half truths and whole lies.
According to Peter Pomerantsev, in his book "Nothing is true and everything is permitted: the surreal heart of the new Russia", the kleptocratic cabal that now controls the Kremlin does not believe in truth even as a concept. Instead they believe that anything and everything is merely a matter of presentation and PR. This message ultimately becomes totally nihilist: the only reality is PR. Those who control the PR machine, control the state. The twisted version of the assassins creed becomes the ultimate reality.
This corrosive cynicism quickly becomes irrational. If nothing is true, then everything, no matter how far fetched, can be believed. The result is that Russians- as in the last days of the Czars- are falling prey to all manner of quacks and charlatans, from soi-disant wizards to astrologers. These people are not the harmless frauds of western newspaper columns, but actually have real influence and power!
This is a breakdown of all logic, the end of rational thought, and proof, if any further were really needed, just how sick a society Putin's Russia has become.
Angela Merkel spoke no more than the truth: Vladimir Putin is probably seriously detached from reality, to a degree that in a rational society would probably be categorised as mental illness.
Now, as the Russian economic crisis accelerates into breakdown, the decadent court of wizards and astrologers serving Vladimir Putin and his cronies are going to get a cold wet bucket of reality dropped all over them. It remains to be seen how dangerous a process this may become. One thing is sure: it is certainly a necessary one.