I do understand that this text was directed to an american audience, but it seems to me that no matter what one has to “conserve” (be it liberal values or not) being a conservative is different from being a liberal (here used in the classic not the american sense) insofar as one is focused on the conserving part rather than ‘liberal values’ part (that is, the main principle is not loving freedom, but loving what works for one’s country). That said, I don’t really know if american “conservatives” are really “Burkian” conservatives or not…
Now, I agree with you that the results of Putin’s policies in Russia are beyond the point of your text… but considering it this way, I don’t see why Putin being Putin in Russia would go against his being a “conservative hero” in the US as long as the american conservatives either 1. see an irreducible differences between the US and Russia, 2. see and praise Putin’s actions for their consequences in the US and not in Russia and, or, most importantly 3. see Putin’s policies as the “natural result of and the perfect fit to Russian history” in the same way they’d hope a conservative would be in the US (this third one aligns very well with traditional Burkian conservatism). They’d have to see Putin not as “corresponding” to the conservative hero, but as an “analogy” of such.
But my some of my discomforts with the original text continue unaddressed, such as the way economic freedoms are equaled (in their work logic) to freedom of speech, and the confusion (intermingling of the concepts) of national, state and government, when comparing american patriotism and Russian nationalism.
(But anyway your text was very interesting)