As you noted, governments like to keep their subject worshiping them but, when that fails, frightening and beating them into submission is a good enough fall back.
Few of the intelligent in Russia consider Putin to be anything more than a thug lining his own pockets first and foremost. However, he still has a tight and effective grip on the State and with nary a drop of blood shed. Fear and resignation work wonders -- maybe not as many wonders as conning generations into believing their cage is actually "land of the free and home of the brave" but good enough for government work!
I used to have some doubts about the US government. It seemed possible that a critical mass of the intelligentsia and minions were, honestly, blind to the consequences of their actions and the path they were on.
No longer. It is now crystal our Masters are intentionally racing the transition from a putative republic to a totalitarian dictatorship the likely "perfection" of which the world has never seen, with technological surveillance and Ponzi finance unparalleled boots for goosestepping over any population that might object (though few will because the conditioned depravity has taken root quite successfully). I honestly don't think the US government would have any real problem sacrificing 3/4 of the population to their "greater good" (only stopping at 3/4 roadkill because they would need some remaining to protect against foreign invasion and to pull their carts and clean their houses) and it is unquestionable, to any who will look, see, and think, that the two parties share this great and bloody vision. Sig Heil!
Bill of Rights /Amendment X: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Do you need a politician or judge to "interpret" those 28