In the end, Kremlinology said a lot more about the people practicing it than it ever did about the Soviet Union. Like all fantasies, it expressed a desire. A universe that could make sense, if only you were smart enough to understand it. A politics that could be reduced to the competing ambitions of a few greying and liver-spotted men. Above all, a global order that—like the dull machinations of MI6 or the CIA—is always powered by conspiracy. So it’s significant that Kremlinology is back. Except this time, the mysterious closed system to be analysed is no longer far away on the chilly edge of Europe. America has turned its suspicions inwards, on the strange and spooky world of Donald Trump.
This has been going on for a while now: During the campaign, it was almost impossible to publicly laugh at his latest hammy and ludicrous tweet without someone coming along to tell you that actually, this is all just a distraction, he’s hogging the headlines to divert your attention from whatever serious allegation was about to sink his presidential bid on that particular week. (As if any allegation, his pussy-grabbing, his tax returns, could halt a Donald Train screaming toward Washington on rails greased with malice and revenge.) But now, with Trump sprawling lugubriously all over the White House, it’s gone into overdrive. As thousands blockade airports and fill up city streets, a new generation of amateur Kremlinologists is coming forward with its hastily assembled theories, assembled from bureaucratic signifiers, to say that by trying to stop the harm he’s actually doing, all we’ve done is play into his tiny, tiny hands.
And pretty sure a few tweets on Y instead of X, or B instead of A, aren't going to change history. Though I guess you never know.