The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin

The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin

from amazon.com

The epic tale of the rise to power of Russia's current president—the only complete biography in English – that fully captures his emergence from shrouded obscurity and deprivation to become one of the most consequential and complicated leaders in modern history, by the former New York Times Moscow bureau chief.

In a gripping narrative of Putin’s rise to power as Russia’s president, Steven Lee Myers recounts Putin’s origins—from his childhood of abject poverty in Leningrad, to his ascension through the ranks of the KGB, and his eventual consolidation of rule. Along the way, world events familiar to readers, such as September 11th and Russia’s war in Georgia in 2008, as well as the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, are presented from never-before-seen perspectives.  

This book is a grand, staggering achievement and a breathtaking look at one man’s rule. On one hand, Putin’s many reforms—from tax cuts to an expansion of property rights—have helped reshape the potential of millions of Russians whose only experience of democracy had been crime, poverty, and instability after the fall of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, Putin has ushered in a new authoritarianism, unyielding in his brutal repression of revolts and squashing of dissent. Still, he retains widespread support from the Russian public. 

The New Tsar 
is a narrative tour de force, deeply researched, and utterly necessary for anyone fascinated by the formidable and ambitious Vladimir Putin, but also for those interested in the world and what a newly assertive Russia might mean for the future. 

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B00MBIDJCU

Author: Steven Lee Myers

Steven Lee Myers

Steven Lee Myers has worked at The New York Times since 1989. He has focused most of his career on international affairs, covering the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House during three presidential administrations. He has covered conflicts in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Iraq. He was a reporter embedded with the US Army's 3rd Infantry Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and returned to Baghdad as a correspondent and bureau chief during the winding down of the American war from 2009 to 2011. He first traveled to Russia in 1998 and, beginning in 2002, has spent more than seven years based in Moscow. He has witnessed and written about many of the most significant events that have marked the rise of Vladimir Putin: from the war in Chechnya and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine to the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

https://www.nytimes.com/by/steven-lee-myers

Reviewed by: Karl Homann

Karl Homann
Reviewed 1/10/2019

Russia: Russian Federation

As of 25 December 1991: current (after the Soviet Union)

GEOGRAPHY AND ETHNOGRAPHY  

    The Russian Federation is, at 17,098,200 square kilometres (6,601,700 sq mi), the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area.

    100 minority languages

     11 TIME ZONES

The current population of the Russian Federation is 143,929,837 as of Tuesday, January 1, 2019, based on the latest United Nations estimates.

The population density in Russia is 9 per Km2 (23 people per mi2).

The median age in Russia is 38.9 years.

 

GOVERNMENT TYPE: Federal semi-presidential constitutional republic

The president chooses the prime minister without the confidence vote from the parliament. In order to remove a prime minister or the whole cabinet from power, the president can dismiss the prime minister, or the assembly can remove the prime minister by a vote of no confidence, but the president can dissolve the parliament.

President: Vladimir Putin (elected in 2018 with 77% of the votes, as INDEPENDENTLY   confirmed by an international observer organisation).

• Prime Minister: Dmitry Medvedev

• Chairman of the Federation Council (Upper House): Valentina Matviyenko

• Chairman of the State Duma (Lower House): Vyacheslav Volodin

    The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II over Nazi-Germany and emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.

ECONOMY

Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2015.

Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally.

The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states.

The Russian Federation is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The Russian Federation has a multi-party system. As of 2018, six parties have members in the federal parliament, the State Duma, with one dominant or ruling party, United Russia.

Currently represented in the State Duma:

    United Russia (340) = dominant party

    Communist Party (42)

    Liberal Democratic Party (40)

    A Just Russia (23)

    Rodina (1)

    Civic Platform (1)

A “dominant-party system” is a system where "a category of parties/political organisations have successively won election victories and whose future defeat cannot be envisaged or is unlikely for the foreseeable future." Usually, the dominant party consistently holds majority government, without the need for coalitions.

Examples commonly cited include: United Russia (CP) in Russia, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, the People's Action Party (PAP) in Singapore, the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, and the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan.

In the Russian language, the term "party of power" (or more correct "power party" or "party in power") is used to describe the party which advocates the current head of state, the party which belongs to/is controlled by the current government or the party established by the current highest official in the state. The “party of power” will be established after a presidential election to support the winner and not the reverse. The party has the same ideology as the president or prime minister. After the party leader loses a presidential election, a party of power without coherent ideology, as a rule, ceases to exist.

THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS RPROCESS

Presidential elections were held in Russia on 18 March 2018. Incumbent Vladimir Putin won re-election for his second consecutive (fourth overall) term in office with 77% of the vote. The incumbent Vladimir Putin was eligible to run. He could have been nominated by the United Russia party as in 2012, but Putin chose to run as an independent.

Other candidates included Pavel Grudinin (Communist Party), Sergey Baburin (Russian All-People's Union), Ksenia Sobchak (Civic Initiative), Maxim Suraykin (Communists of Russia), Boris Titov (Party of Growth) and Grigory Yavlinsky (Yabloko).

The President of Russia is directly elected for a term of six years, extended from four years in 2008 during Dmitry Medvedev's administration. According to Article 81 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, a candidate for president must be at least 35 years old, hold no dual nationality, have permanently resided in Russia for the past 10 years, and cannot serve more than two terms consecutively.

Parties with representation in the State Duma are able to nominate a candidate to run for the office while candidates from officially registered parties that are not in parliament have to collect at least 100,000 signatures.

As Independent candidate, Putin had to collect at least 300,000 signatures, with no more than 7,500 from each federal district of Russia and also from action groups made up of at least 500 people. The nomination process took place during Russia's winter holiday period, and 31 January 2018 was the last day for submitting signatures in support of candidates.

Comments

1 year ago — Karl Homann
Please note that the above is NOT a book review but rather background information that might be helpful in reading the February book choice with greater understanding. Karl Homann

Reviewed by: Karl Homann

Karl Homann
Reviewed 1/21/2019

I am adding more factual information about the role of the President of the Russian Federation as described in its constitution.

I also add some YouTube links of videos that may be of interest to see Putin in action.

President of Russia

The President of the Russian Federation is the head of state and guarantor of the Constitution and of human and civil rights and freedoms.

The President is elected for a 6-year term by the Russian Federation’s citizens on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.

Oath of the President of Russia

“In performing my duties as the President of the Russian Federation, I pledge to respect and protect the rights and liberties of every citizen; to observe and protect the Constitution of the Russian Federation; to protect the sovereignty and independence, security and integrity of the state and to serve the people faithfully.”

President`s Authority and Duties

The status of the President of the Russian Federation is defined in chapter four of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

The President shall be the head of state and the guarantor of the Constitution and of civil and human, rights and liberties. He shall take measures to protect the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, its independence and integrity, and to ensure the concerted functioning and interaction of all bodies of state power.

  • The President shall define the basic domestic policy guidelines of the state.

  • The President shall define the basic foreign policy guidelines of the state.

  • The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

  • The President shall resolve issues of citizenship of the Russian Federation award state decorations, and grant pardons.

RELATED VIDEOS (YouTube)

  • LIKE A BOSS: Putin Humiliates Oligarchs "Cockroaches" For Closing Down a Factory in 2008https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZhq6YavDM4(Russian, English subtitles; watch to the end for the best part)

    Putin Meets with Russian Oligarchs in Kremlin - Publicado el 23 sep. 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin summoned 50 of the richest and most powerful Russian businessmen, oligarchs and silovarchs to a meeting at the Kremlin on Sept. 21, according to the Kremlin's official website. According to Russian media, the meeting's purpose is to discuss the future of Russian business. Putin began the meeting by addressing those assembled, highlighting positive trends in the Russian economy as the country slowly pulls out of recession. The meeting was attended by over 50 business leaders, CEOs of leading private companies and companies with government participation, banks and public organisations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uiioRkU34I

(Russian, English subtitles)

Russia: Moscow's oligarchs | Focus on Europe (DW News = Deutsche Welle)

  • (Russian, English subtitles)

    Publicado el 29 sep. 201

  • Many of Russia's super-rich carved their wealth out of the Soviet Union's vast and crumbling empire (before Putin's Prsedency). They've proven largely immune to the ongoing economic crisis - unlike most ordinary Muscovites.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkV48vA87y0

 

Reviewed by: John Stokdijk

John Stokdijk
Reviewed 1/26/2019

Steven Lee Myers finished writing The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin in February, 2015, and the date is significant. Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President on June 16, 2015. Clearly, The New Tsar could not have been influenced by Trump’s accession to the most powerful office in the world. The book sheds much light on Vladimir Putin and with this knowledge the attitude of Trump towards him is even more puzzling. It was not possible for me to read this book without often wondering about what the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians will uncover.

Also of great interest to me was the background to current events in Ukraine. My wife is of Ukrainian descent. She was raised on a farm northeast of Edmonton, Alberta, an area which is heavily populated by people originally from the Ukraine.

But because I was not very familiar with the characters in the story, the book was confusing reading at times. It was not always easy to distinguish Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine from 2005 to 2010 from Viktor Yanukovych, President from 2010 until February, 2014. Ukraine is, unfortunately, one more example of how difficult it is for people with different ethnicities to live together in peace and how politicians can take advantage of the resulting tensions.

As a teenager I became interested in world affairs and regularly read Time magazine, a leading weekly news publication of that time. I grew up during the Cold War which fortunately never became a hot war. One of the great unexpected events of my lifetime was the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was very interesting to relive these events through the biography of Putin and from the current perspective of growing chaos.

Amid the Persian Gulf crisis, on September 11, 1990 George H. W. Bush delivered a speech before a joint session of Congress. That speech captured the optimism of the time. Today that speech sounds hopelessly naive. Putin was an unknown, insignificant character at that time.

We stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective — a new world order — can emerge: a new era — freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony.

Today we do seem to be on the verge of a new world order but one that will be full of terror, weaker in the pursuit of justice, less secure in the quest for peace, less prosperous for many and less stable for most. How is it possible that the Americans miscalculated so badly? Of course, no one could have foreseen the rise of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at that time.

Putin’s story was shaped by the experiences of his parents during WWII. So was mine but in a very different way. The trauma of that war cast a very long shadow.

Noteworthy in the rise of Putin is how ordinary he was before he got power.

Vladimir seemed content to toil in the lower ranks. Though described by one of his superiors as meticulous in his work, he displayed no driving ambition to climb through the organization (the KGB).

Chaos and crisis can reveal the character of a man. In 1989 Putin was stationed in Dresden, East Germany at the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Dramatic events unfolded which give some insight into his character.

It was at this nadir, nearing midnight, that Lieutenant Colonel Putin committed the riskiest, most decisive known act of his KGB career… he bluffed.

I remember the optimism of 1991 when Boris Yeltsin was legitimately elected President of Russia. Russia, a democracy, unbelievable! Indeed it was too good to be true.

I have no clear memory of the dramatic event at the turnover of the century on December 31, 1999 when President Yeltsin resigned and handed power to Vladimir Putin. The course of history is singular. We can never know how different history would have been had another man been chosen and there is little point in speculating.

There is a minor character in the book that was of considerable interest to me. From time to time I have seen Bill Browder interviewed on CNN. Browder is an American born businessman who actively invested in Russia. It was the murder of his Russian tax lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, that led the U.S Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Browder’s book is one I would like to read if I ever find time. Like many storylines in The New Tsar, this is of current interest in light of the Trump presidency.

Because Putin will probably rule Russia until at least 2024, he will be an important player in world affairs for years to come. How will he influence future events? What will become of the European Union and NATO? What will be the future of Crimea and Georgia? What will be the fate of Edward Snowden and Garry Kasparov? The New Tsar provides important background for these and many other questions.

Finally, I would like to pose a philosophical question. How much freedom is optimal? It seems obvious that in Russia today people and institutions have far too little freedom. But it seems to me that in western countries, particularly the United States, people and institutions have too much freedom. There probably is a book that explores this theme.

Comments

1 year ago — Karl Homann
John, your last question is very incisive and important because many reputable writers, like Harari (Homo Sapiens, Homo Deus, 21st Century) raises the same question; in fact, he and others make a case for "democracy" as we know is on its way out.

Reviewed by: Karl Homann

Karl Homann
Reviewed 1/30/2019

In The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin (Aug 23, 2016), Steven Lee Myers recounts Putin's public life --from his childhood of abject poverty in Leningrad to his ascent through the ranks of the KGB, and his eventual consolidation of rule in the Kremlin. (Amazon.com)

A Man Named Vladimir

Review by Karl Homann

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, that is, the four-time President of the Russian Federation and Commander-in- Chief of the Russian Armed Forces.

Putin has served as President of Russia from 2000 to 2008 and again since 2012. In between his presidencies, he was Prime Minister of Russia. On March 18, 2018, he was re-elected as president with 77% of the popular vote, although his popularity has declined somewhat to just above 60%, given the drop in petroleum and natural gas prizes, of which Russia is a major exporter.  When Putin steps down in 2024, he will barely have reached the age of 72

But WHO is this man, named Vladimir Putin, a question that was not only asked by foreign leaders and commentaries when he suddenly appeared on the political scene in 2000 as a protegee of Boris Yeltsin, the first President of the Russian Federation (1991 to 1999), but by Muscovites themselves.

The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin (Aug 23, 2016) by Steven Lee Myers in his Putin biography provides some of the answers, though, at times, skewed by the writer’s western perspective. Myers gives a succinct answer at the very end of the biography, as Putin inevitably and unchallenged cruises towards his fourth presidency:

No Putin, no Russia.

And that will, indeed, be the case until 2024. 

****

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born on October 7, 1952 in Leningrad (today, Saint Petersburg), the third son of the elder Vladimir, who worked in a railroad carriage factory, and was a member of the Communist Party. His mother Maria was forty-one years old when she gave birth to her son. They lived in one room of a communal, rat-infested apartment; no hot water, no bathtub, only a communal kitchen and bathroom, which they shared with two other families.

“We lived simply - cabbage soup, cutlets, pancakes, but on Sundays and holidays my Mom would bake very delicious pirozhki, stuffed buns with cabbage, meat and rice, and vatrushki, cottage cheese tarts.”

An elderly Jewish couple became his surrogate grandparents, and ever since, Putin holds a strong disdain for all religious intolerance, especially anti-Semitism. At school, he was bullied for his size but learned martial arts to defend himself. According to his teachers, he was an indifferent student, petulant, disruptive, and the only one among 45 classmates who did not join the Communist Youth organization.

“I was a hooligan, not a Pioneer,” he wrote later.

In fact, Putin never became or was a member of the Communist Party, but popular Russian espionage novels and movies of the 60’s inspired him to join the KGB. Young Vladimir tried three times to find the right entrance to the KGB “Big House” in Leningrad, before an officer flatly told him that the KGB did not accept volunteers. To get rid of the young man, the officer suggested that he attend law school. So, against the wishes of his parents, Vladimir enrolled in the university law school in the fall of 1970. He also continued his studies of the German language, which he still speaks fluently today.

During the summer, he attended judo competitions, cut timber, worked in construction camps, and once earned 800 rubles, with which he bought a coat that he wore for the next fifteen years.

In the summer of 1975, he finally fulfilled his childhood dream of joining the KGB, which by this time had grown into a vast bureaucracy. Putin was assigned to the personnel office, not exactly what his childhood imagination had hoped for. But luck was on his side when the former KGB chairman Yuri Andropov became the supreme leader of the Soviet Union and sought to reform the Soviet system, especially in economic affairs and international relations.

As if he had anticipated it, Putin had written a thesis on the principle of “most-favored-nation status in international trade” during his study at the Leningrad State University. He, therefore, was transferred to the elite branch of the KGB, the Directorate responsible for intelligence operations beyond the Soviet Union’s borders. But once again, he was assigned rather routine tasks such as monitoring religious Easter processions. When a friend asked him what it meant to be an “intelligence officer”, Vladimir answered,

“I am a specialist in human relations.”

In 1979, with the rank of captain, he attended the KGB Academy in Moscow, whose training manual described an intelligence officer’s characteristics as having “a warm heart, a cool head, and clean hands.”

From 1985 to 1990, he served in Dresden, East Germany, undercover as Mr. Adamov, the director of the Soviet-German House of Friendship, a social and cultural club.

Personal note: As a high school student, my class visited one of these centres in East Berlin in 1960, one year before the Wall, where we discussed the benefits and/or disadvantages of the capitalist versus the socialist political system with our East German counterparts.  

Putin genuinely enjoyed spending time in Germany, and he respected the German culture. According to Putin's official biography, during the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), he burned KGB files to prevent demonstrators from obtaining them. Then he confronted the angry mob, alone, and talked them out of storming the building.

At age 28, still a bachelor, Putin met Lyudmila Shkrebneva, a blue-eyed stewardess with Aeroflot. Whenever she asked what he did during the day, he evaded her questions with jokes like:

“We go fishing all day. Before lunch, we catch. After lunch, we release.”

Her, however, he did not release.

In April 1983, on a trip to the Black Sea and Crimea, he hinted that in three and a half years, she had probably made up her mind. “Yes,” she said. He replied: “Well, then, if that’s the way it is, I love you and propose that we get married.” Vladimir and Lyudmila stayed married for 30 years and had two daughters, but almost nothing is known about Mariya, 33 and Yekaterina, 31. As adults, they have never been photographed by the Russian media, and it has been said that the Russian public would not recognize the women if they ran into them on the street. The girls have always been carefully guarded by the Russian government and were even pulled out of school and taught at home once their father hit the spotlight.

Two articles, one in BUSINESS INSIDER, August 28, 2012, and an investigative report by Reuters in 2015, tried to dig up some details, but had to admit that much of what they found was unconfirmed speculation and social media gossip. 

Much the same can be said about Putin himself. While his public life and career are well-documented, little is known about his private life. We know that he loves sports:

“I just love everything new. I enjoy learning new things. The process itself gives me great pleasure.”

He skies, plays ice hockey, rides horses, scuba dives. He flies air planes from ultralights to guide Siberian white cranes on their migration route south, fighter planes for fun and water bombers to put out forest fires. He also takes a keen interest in animal protection programs: Amur Tigers, Beluga Whales, Polar Bears, and Snow Leopards.

His mother has said that Vladimir loves his daughters, but Putin also loves dogs, perhaps, even more than his daughters.

“The more people I know, the more I love dogs,” says Putin.

His beloved black Labrador Konni died in 2014. Once answering a question at a press conference, Putin stated that, like everyone else, he, too, can be in a bad mood:  "In those moments, I consult with my dog Konni, who gives me good advice."

Konni has since been replaced with other puppies, the gifts of political leaders: Buffy, a Bulgarian Shepherd; Yume, an Akita, as thanks for Russia’s help with a Japanese earthquake in 2011; an Alabai puppy from Turkmenistan, named Verny (or “Faithful”) in Russian.

Little else is affirmatively known about Putin’s private life. Apart from social media gossip, he remains an enigma. But a 2017 Business Insider article gives us a glimpse of his working life.

He rises late; has breakfast at noon. Next, he takes time to exercise. Newsweek reports that Putin spends about two hours swimming, one at noon, another at midnight. According to Putin, when he is in the water, he "gets much of his thinking about Russia done”. After his swim, Putin lifts weights in the gym. As we know from photos – some real, some photo shopped – the 66-year-old has, over the years, cultivated a “macho” image.

When he gets to work in the early afternoon, he reads his briefing notes, reports on domestic and foreign affairs, as well as clips from the Russian press and the international media. He is extremely well-informed on all political matters, domestic and foreign.

Occasionally, Putin will watch a satirical online video mocking him and his government. Otherwise, he abstains from most technology at work, preferring "red folders with paper documents, and fixed-line Soviet War Era telephones" to computers.

No hacking, no tweets!

The Russian president stays up until midnight working. And so must his staff and advisers, one of whom says that Putin is a modest man, soft-spoken who waits his turn to speak. But when he speaks, he speaks with authority and is very articulate. He vigorously confronts any inefficiency and incompetence in his ministers, firing them openly or suggesting that they resign, if they are not capable of handling their job.

NOTE: Putin’s rather unusual work schedule may have something to with the former 11 and present 9 time zones.  

Putin doesn’t drink alcohol, except a little at formal receptions. According to Politico, the Russian President may be taking a symbolic stand amid Russia’s widespread alcoholism and wishes to separate himself from his drunken predecessor Boris Yeltsin.   

Over the weekend, he leaves time for his English classes, and on Sunday he sometimes goes to church and to confession, although those close to him stress that “his life is not that of an Orthodox Christian.”

When Putin took on the Russian presidency for the first time (2000), he inherited a country that was run by eight oligarchs who controlled almost 50 percent of Russia’s GDP, in companies gifted by Boris Yeltsin for political support (sort of a Russian form of “Citizens United”). In February 2003, Putin called them all together and told them:

There will be no more oligarchs. If you are unhappy with that, you have only yourselves to blame.

I have watched a Russian video of Putin flying halfway across the country to meet with the owners of a factory which they were planning to close. He called them “cockroaches” and put a contract in front of them to keep the factory open. When the main oligarch owner lied about having signed, Putin said, “I don’t see your signature.” Then he gave him a pen, pointed to the spot of the document: “Sign here”, and after he had signed, he walked away while putting Putin’s pen in his pocket, Putin called him back, saying “Now give me my pen back.”

While some might argue that Putin’s leadership does not reflect a specific ideology, Chris Miller (Assistant Professor at The Fletcher School and author of Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia) has discerned three beliefs which are consistent with Putin’s political pronouncements and actions.

When Putin began his political career, the former Soviet Union was unable to effectively collect taxes or provide services, therefore…

1.        Putin believes that the government needed a strong centralized control of the vast empire (then 11, now 9 time zones). To maintain that central control has been his highest priority.

2.        Second, to keep the populace supportive of his government and thus to prevent revolt, Putin believes that the key is rising wages and pensions.

3.        Third, economic progress depends heavily on private enterprises but only so long as those enterprises (or oligarchs) do not interfere with either central government control or rising salaries and pensions. Whenever  a private enterprise violates either of first two beliefs, then the government takes control of the enterprise.

Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain. (Vladimir Putin)

Putin wanted to make Russia strong again and reconnect it with the West. But after several attempts and many rejections, he just does not seem to care any longer whether the West wants a relationship with Russia or not.

Today, Russia’s economy has stabilized, inflation is at historic low, the budget is nearly balanced. Gazprom, Russia’s largest natural gas exporter, has again increased its deliveries to Europe. The Russian share of the European gas market increased to 34 percent last year. Ironically, even the remaining 20 US military installations in Germany are heated by Russian natural gas.

At a summit in June 2001, in Slovenia, George W. Bush said,

“[Putin] is a man deeply committed to his country…. I looked the man in the eye. I found him very straightforward and trustworthy – I was able to get a sense of his soul."

The relationship between Bush and Putin, however, soured, once the US invaded Iraq. 

Did Trump in Helsinki get a sense of Putin’s soul? – Why would he? Or should that be, why wouldn’t he?

Hilary Clinton remarked in one of her loosing electoral debates: Putin was a KGB agent and this, by definition, means that he has “no soul”.  Would she say the same about her successor, Secretary of State, Mike “Top CIA Spy” Pompeo? That he, too, has no soul. 

According to Putin, the United States must respect another country’s interests and not change the rules whenever it suits them:

You asked me, who am, friend or foe? – I am not your friend, I am not your bride or groom… I am the president of the Russian Federation.

 

THE ECONOMIST - Feb 4th, 2016

VLADIMIR PUTIN seems impervious to the woes that afflict normal leaders. His approval rating stayed at slightly above 80% (2016), but has since fallen to slightly above 60% (2018). For his fans, Mr. Putin’s shock-resistant ratings serve as proof of his righteousness.

Some Russian liberals and Western observers have claimed that there is something wrong with the polls. But the independent Levada Centre records approval levels for Mr. Putin similar to those of state pollsters; and so does the in-house sociological service of Alexei Navalny, an opposition leader, whom The Wall Street Journal has described as "the man Vladimir Putin fears most."

 

RELATED VIDEOS (YouTube)

  • LIKE A BOSS: Putin Humiliates Oligarchs by Calling them "Cockroaches" For Closing Down a Factory in 2008

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZhq6YavDM4

(Russian, English subtitles; watch to the end for the best part)

  • Putin Meets with Russian Oligarchs in Kremlin – Publicized on 23 September 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin summoned 50 of the richest and most powerful Russian businessmen, oligarchs to a meeting at the Kremlin on Sept. 21, according to the Kremlin's official website. According to Russian media, the meeting's purpose was to discuss the future of Russian business. Putin began the meeting by highlighting positive trends in the Russian economy as the country slowly pulls out of recession. The meeting was attended by over 50 business leaders, CEOs of leading private companies and companies with government participation, banks and public organisations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uiioRkU34I

(Russian, English subtitles)

  • Russia: Moscow's oligarchs | Focus on Europe (DW News = Deutsche Welle)

    (Russian, English subtitles)

    Publicado el 29 sep. 2016

Many of Russia's super-rich carved their wealth out of the Soviet Union's vast and crumbling empire. They've proven largely immune to the ongoing economic crisis - unlike most ordinary Muscovites.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkV48vA87y0

 

Comments

1 year ago — Karl Homann

I strongly suggest that you watch the videos above because it gives you a good idea how Putin deals with the Russian oligarchs.