Bronze-level articleVladimir Putin

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Were you looking for the popular Quebecois snack? Or perhaps you were looking for a French putain? Or perhaps you have been pootin'?
No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die.
—Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin's full name is "Tom Clancy's Vladimir Putin."
—Chase Mitchell[1]

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Владимир Владимирович Путин; born 1952), a.k.a. "Pootie-Poot",[2] is a former KGB operative[3] (by which we mean a "boring desk job")[4] and current leader of Russia. He was the Prime Minister in 1999, the President through 2008, Prime Minister until 2011, and President since 2012. As President, he presides over a nominally "democratic" nation that is marked by a lot of backdoor deals with criminal syndicates.

After the turmoil of the Yeltsin years, Putin's administration hankers back to something more similar to the Brezhnev days, where Russia did what was best for Russia, and made a point of flipping the bird at the west while doing it. His chief policy appears to be keeping the current self-serving oligarchy in power by whatever means necessary. But for many Russians who saw the emasculation of their country after the fall of the USSR, this return to strength (even if it's just macho posturing) is popular. (It's quite a departure from what actually seems to be a depressing personal life.)[5]

Thing is, Putin has done a very successful job of getting rid of any viable opposition, meaning the only people left are more insane than he is.[6][7]


[edit] Reality-defying good stuff?

You can be a three-headed tyrant as long as everyone has jobs and is working.
—Jack Ablin[8]

Putin was the head of one of the KGB's most prestigious programs for a reason. You can't deny that the guy is very competent and has presided over a economic and political backwater elbowing itself back into the geopolitical realm. There was an unexpectedly high economic growth during his first term as president: he balanced the budget wait, he reduced the national debt by 90%?[9] This was done primarily by boosting GDP, making the national debt a smaller fraction of a larger GDP.[10]

The Russian economy grew for eight straight years, seeing GDP increase by 72% in PPP (sixfold in nominal).Here's how Putin somehow managed to maintain a semblance of popularity: Wages tripled, incomes increased, unemployment and poverty more than halved and Russians' self-assessed life satisfaction rose significantly, simply because they actually have money in their pockets for once.

The majority of Russian exports are oil and gas,[11][12] which is integral to their economy. *cough* To make sure Russia stays on the map for decades to come, Putin's energy policy made Russia into a nuclear power (again). The police and military have been "reformed," the automotive industry boomed, and general land laws modernized.

The Serbs have historically been pro-Russian because of their image as a protector of Ottoman Slavs and Orthodox Christianity in general. Putin is very popular there because he brought up Russia from the ashes, restored national pride, and holds a firm pro-Serbian stance on the Kosovo issue, calling the Europeans hypocrites (though they're not all that similar, since Kosovo isn't the 51st state). It's a popular saying there that if Putin was a candidate for president in Serbia he would come away with 100% of the vote. May explain why 97% voted to reunite with Russia.

He also signed the Kyoto Protocol (though the terms were easy for Russia), which is something the United States hasn't done yet (or ever will). Speaking of the US, he granted asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden, if for no other reason than to stick it to Washington.

Putin accrues another bonus simply by not being Boris Yeltsin.

[edit] And the reality-returning bad stuff

You think you have power because you can listen to telephone calls? This I was doing as a hobby as a small child. You want to see power? I turned Russia from democracy to dictatorship in record time. I kill people without drones. I have girlfriend who can place her own buttocks onto her head. This is powerful.
Something Awful[13]

When he became Acting President in early 2000, one of the first things he did was issue a decree stating that "corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives" would not be pursued... which later included current presidents and their families as well.[14] This was a foretaste of what lay ahead.

Russia has been in a recession since 2014.[15] Their economy is still too dependent upon oil:[16] The price of oil is projected to remain at or below $75 through 2020. As a result, growth in Russia is going to stagnate for many years.[17] But he's definitely "eating Obama's lunch."[18]

His record on human rights has been marked by the flattening of Chechnya, the demolition of Georgia, the media functioning as his propaganda arm, the instigation of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine that culminated in the accidental downing of a civilian aircraft[19], the bombing of aid convoys,[20] the slew of Kremlin opponents dropping dead from polonium poisoning,[21][22] Russian soldiers taking long "vacations",[23] and the suppression and abuse of protestors.[24][25] Only in 2017 can you be arrested for protesting for the right to protest. (We need to go deeper.)

He conned Bush and Obama. Both came into office wanting to "reset" relations with Russia, and both times, the Russian response was another annexation. Bush claimed that he "looked into his soul"; Putin took Georgia just as Bush was about to leave office. The reason for the sanctions was, one day, Russia just up and walked into another independent, democratic society and annexed 27,000 km² of land (roughly the size of New Hampshire) out from under them. The problem is that he annexed Crimea while it was still a part of Ukraine, and the decision to rejoin Russia was done in two weeks, which is a very short time to pull together a referendum for such a geopolitical shift. While it's evident the annexation is a breach of international law, nobody in the West was interested in getting into a conflict over Ukraine or Crimea. The important thing is that it was a blow to Western prestige. It represented a breakup of the unipolar world that's been the norm for the last quarter century.

Russia continues to back separatists in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria along with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova and, er....Texas?[26][27] And the way he continues to play the west over Syria is astounding.[28]

Such rhetoric has earned him a neologism called Putinism.Wikipedia's W.svg

[edit] Stay straight

In 2012, he banned gay pride parades and protests in Moscow for 100 years,[29] along with a variety of other draconic restrictions on homosexual rights, doubtlessly as a way to court the fundamentalist vote.[30] Shortly after, he continued to uphold the traditional family by getting divorced.[31] His support relies primarily on a "diminishing political base of older, rural, less educated citizens, blue-collar workers, and persons with a strongly nationalist bent" — oh wait, wrong politician.[32]

[edit] Gimmie a "K", gimmie a "G"...

He has said it to the President, to Secretary Kerry. He even believes we sparked the Arab Spring as a C.I.A. operation... He really does kind of superimpose the way his system works onto the way he thinks our system works. He grossly exaggerates the role of the C.I.A. in the making of our foreign policy.
—Michael McFaul, diplomat[33]

Sponsored and proposed by extremist Irina Yarovaya, Putin now has signed a law that allows for NSA style surveillance of Russian citizens and explicitly bans door to door missionary work, which affects many of the same social conservatives who helped ban gay propaganda - except the Orthodox Church, of course. Edward Snowden called it the "Big Brother law"; critics say it's basically the Russian version of the PATRIOT Act. [34] The new measures include massive restrictions on privacy, speech, freedom of conscience, and religious expression. [35] Even then, some parts of it are just unenforcable - It demands phone and internet providers keeping all data for 3 years, and every major Russian telecom company has declared that impossible.

[edit] USSR cover band

People in Russia say that those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet Union have no heart, and those that do regret it have no brain.
—Vladimir Putin Mk. MMV, before losing his brain nine years later[36]
He's not exactly fun to be around. But...

He has said that Stalin's legacy can't be judged in black and white.[37] As such, Putin's policies have been likened to the Soviet era, which has received a lukewarm response by Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov.[38][39] Well, at least Roger Boyes of The Times considers him more of a latter-day BrezhnevWikipedia's W.svg than a clone of Stalin.[40] Faint praise and a rather mixed blessing, considering that Brezhnev presided over the Era of StagnationWikipedia's W.svg, ended up as a senile gerontocratWikipedia's W.svg[41] heading up an equally elderly PolitburoWikipedia's W.svg[42] and in his final year began the Soviet Union's Afghanistan War (spoiler: He lost).

Within days of wrapping up an international celebration of peace and cooperation through sport, he annexed parts of Ukraine after they kicked out their pro-Putin president. It was a major PR blunder,[43][44] leading some commentators to wonder if Putin had finally lost his marbles.[45]

Russia has basically been waging economic war on the EU for years. That's a major reason why they invaded Ukraine: it was getting too close to the EU e.g. major gas pipelines[46]. (More importantly, Ukraine was making noises about joining NATO.[47] Putin went in before they could.)

Putin has a vested interest in the EU breaking up, and RT is producing propaganda to that end. The Eurozone crisis significantly weakened the EU at a time when Russia is pushing itself forward. Brussels can't speak with a single voice for Europe (and if they could, they're busy elsewhere) in opposition to some of Russia's more interesting adventures. No one seriously imagines Putin is going to try to grow his borders again, but it is absolutely in Putin's character to try to control the narrative in areas previously part of the Soviet sphere of influenceWikipedia's W.svg. This would include some non-NATO countries, like Georgia and Ukraine—at least judging by Putin's military escapades whose singular aim seems to be preventing them from ever joining NATO. It won't be surprising if a few countries have more pro-Russian agitators than in years' past.[48][49]

[edit] If I Were A Rich Man

Bill Browder, a former fund manager in Russia, estimated that Putin has amassed US$200 billion, but officially he is worth only about $200,000.00 (!). He spent most of it on fillers, though.[50]

For comparison, $200 billion is more than the sum of the next 2 richest people: Bill Gates and Carlos Slim. According to Browder, he doesn't really need any wealth because he has absolute power and there is just an illusion of oligarchy.[51] The lack of a real oligarchy became apparent when Mikhail Khodorkovsky was imprisoned and later exiled for annoying the boss.[52]

[edit] International support

See the main article on this topic: Horseshoe theory
Putinism, it appears, has something for everyone. No ideological glue binds the Putin fan club together. For paleoconservatives unnerved by the spread of progressive cultural values and willing to empower the state to stem the tide, Putinism clothes the naked public square. For liberals who see unrestrained capitalism as a form of anarchic looting, Putinism puts the state back where it belongs: in control [...] In reality, Putinism is a violent, paranoid kleptocracy with no moral force, and those who make common cause with it, or seek to excuse it away, have surrendered any claim to moral probity.
—Seth Mandel[53]

Putin is popular with certain elements of the left,[54] particularly people who who opposes atlanticismWikipedia's W.svg, globalization, or US foreign policy. This "anti-imperialism" line was a staple of Soviet apologetics. The apparatchiks justified practically any move with "defense against Western Imperialism". And while the Soviets are dead and buried now, with their rhetoric, you can play the Russian public, the left and right wings like claviatures.[55][56] Putin, a literal Judo master, invokes this "political judo" stuff all the time.

Right wing support for Russia isn't new. The support really started to grow in 2013, after the signing of the gay propaganda law. Those of the alt-right persuasion have been warming up to Russia for several years now, especially in light of Middle East unrest, the Saudi pipeline efforts in Syria, and the flood of Muslims into Europe. But even before Syria, Russia was known as having a very right-wing, ultra-orthodox government and politics. Their government is also active in promoting far-right politics outside of Russia and the U.S.: The Tagesanzeiger published an article about a meeting of various far-right parties with representatives of like-minded Russian parties; far-left parties attended similar events. It suggests a network connecting European right-wingers (such as Le Pen, Michaloliakos,[57] Farage,[58] or Strache) and left-wingers (like Alexis Tsipras, Bernd Riexinger, George Galloway and Katja Kipping) to persons close to the Russian government.[59]

[edit] 2016 election interference

Congratulations, US media! You've just covered your first press conference of an authoritarian leader with a massive ego and a deep disdain for your trade and everything you hold dear. We, in Russia, have been doing it for 12 years now— with a short hiatus when our leader wasn’t technically our leader — so quite a few things during Donald Trump's press conference rang my bells.
—Alexey Kovalev[60]

Donald Trump worked closely with the Kremlin throughout his Richard M. Nixon comeback tour Presidential campaign, namely by picking Paul "Agent to the Czars" Manafort as his campaign chief.[61][62][63] Trump publicly ordered Russia to deliver the goods on Clinton, which they did.[64] He continues to praise Russia and belittle his own nation to the news media.[65] He has stacked his cabinet and staff with Kremlin sympathizers. When you find out the CEO of Exxon has ties to Russia and you nominate him as Secretary of State, that's not draining the swamp. That's drinking it. (Trump voters are suckers of the first order.)[66] Now it appears he was not only coordinating with the Kremlin through his network and violating the Logan Act,[67] but the consensus in the U.S intelligence community is that Russia was behind the Guccifer 2.0 E-mails hack which helped scuttle Clinton's campaign—though we may never know the extent of their involvement, nor will we ever truly understand just how much it actually affected the campaign at all.[68][69][70][71][72]

As part of a U.S.-Russia peace process, Trump says he might stop sending aid to anti-Assad rebels in Syria.[73] Trump is even talking about reducing the power of American intelligence agencies specifically because they have information about Russia that Russia says is false.[74] He's already trashed the FBI's credibility and valued apolitical position.[75]

What's really fascinating is that the Ruble is one of the worst performers post-election, yet the Russian government is barely able to contain it's joy over Trump winning. This also ties into the massive deficit Russia is facing. (They're in a deficit of over 3%. That's absolutely terrible.) So you can see why their government is so heavily supportive of Trump if it means sanctions lifting; it will be a giant weight lifted off the Russian economy.[76]

The biggest elephant of the room must also be noted. Despite Trump himself supporting Putin, nearly the entire cabinet opposes Putin and is itching for war with Russia. [77]

[edit] Buyers' Remorse

Despite preferring Trump to Clinton, the Kremlin is increasingly growing frustrated with Donald Trump as President. The American leader said, in a tweet, that Crimea was taken by Russia, and his White House issued a statement on Valentine's Day declaring that sanctions would only be removed if Crimea is returned to Ukraine. Immediately thereafter, coverage of Trump, which exceeded coverage of Putin, was dramatically scaled back, and more criticism of Trump was allowed as disillusionment, bewilderment, and frustration grows among the Kremlin. So much for that. Let this be a lesson to all of Russia: you just joined the long list of investors screwed by Donald Trump. [78]

[edit] You like me, you really like me

In the new war of beliefs, Putin is saying, it is Russia that is on God’s side. The West is Gomorrah.
Pat Buchanan[79]

In a stroke of irony, Putin was shortlisted as the Conservapedia 2013 Conservative of the Year, showing that authoritarians around the world tend to stick together.[80] It's not just them; Patrick Buchanan and Fox News talking heads have also expressed an odd admiration for his style of leadership.[81][82]

[edit] And now for something completely different

Known for an alarmingly higher-pitched voice than his face indicates,[83] Putin likes to remind his countrymen (and the world) what a macho guy he is. He knows kung fu judo. He "captured" and tamed a tiger which he kept as a pet. He likes to go fishing without a shirt.[84] As far as public health campaigns go, "shirtless Putin" was very successful.

He brings his dog to staff meetings. In fact he made a point of bringing the dog when he met with Angela Merkel, even though (or more likely because) he knew Merkel was uncomfortable around dogs. Putin loved his pet ChihuahuaWikipedia's W.svg so much he let it sit in his presidential chair from 2008 to 2012 and even pretended that little Dima was actually in charge.

In recent years, he has been partly credited (alongside Russian optics firm LOMO) for saving film-based photography from extinction, given the surge in popularity of "Lomography."[85]

If his career in Russian politics were to end, he would be the perfect Bond villain. We could then see the fruition of Putin and his defense minister's plans for development of futuristic weapons, including psychotronic weapons. Well... kinda. It's weird.[86]

Putin also holds the Guinness World Record for holding the most expensive (and weirdest) Olympic Games ever.[87][88]

[edit] See also

[edit] Videos

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. Humorously enough, there was a Putin as depicted by Clancy. He didn't end up so well.
  2. W's nickname for PutinWikipedia's W.svg
  3. "The making of a neo-KGB state", Economist 8.23.07.
  4. Hoffman, David, "Putin's Career Rooted in Russia's KGB", WaPo 1.30.2000 Page A1.
  5. Behind the Scenes in Putin's Court: The Private Habits of a Latter-Day Dictator, Newsweek
  6. Shekhovtsov, Anton, "Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the LDPR", Foreign Policy Journal 11.7.07. "Liberal-Democratic Party"? Sounds great! Except they aren't really democratic; in fact, they are even more radical than Putin himself.
  7. Bennetts and Alexander, "Vladimir Putin’s Red Scare? Inside Russia’s Resurgent Communist Party", Newsweek via Reuters (7/31/16 at 9:00 AM).
  8. Will Putin run for his money?, Toronto Star
  9. Ruskie Wikipedia
  10. Russia Government Debt to GDP, Investopedia
  11. Overview of the Economic Survey of the Russian Federation, OECD
  12. At present, Russia supplies 32.6% of Europe's oil imports and 38.7% of Europe's natural gas imports, while the EU encompasses 41% of all Russian trade. And as you know, relations between both powers going quite well recently.
  13. "Vladimir Putin Op/Ed"
  14. Vote gives Putin chance of life-long criminal immunity, The Guardian
  15. Russia GDP Growth Rate 1995-2017, Trading Economics.
  16. "Crude Oil Price Forecast: Long Term 2016 to 2025", knoema.
  17. "Russia GDP Growth Forecast 2015-2020 and up to 2060, Data and Charts - G20 Economic Forecast, knoema.
  18. Trump: Putin has "eaten Obama's lunch", Today 12.31.16.
  19. Somini Sengupta and Andrew E. Kramer, "Dutch Inquiry Links Russia to 298 Deaths in Explosion of Jetliner Over Ukraine", NYT 9.28.16.
  20. Vaux, Pierre, "This Is How Russia Bombed the U.N. Convoy", Daily Beast (09.21.16 12:06 PM ET). In a heavy Russian accent*: Proof, what proof? show us proofs!
  21. President Putin 'probably' approved Litvinenko murder
  22. Kramer, Andrew E., "More of Kremlin’s Opponents Are Ending Up Dead", NYT 8.20.16.
  23. McCoy, Terrence, "Russians troops fighting in Ukraine? Naw. They’re just on ‘vacation.’", WaPo 8.28.14.
  24. Herszenhorn, David M., "New Russian Law Assesses Heavy Fines on Protesters", NYT 6.8.12.
  25. Bennetts, Mark, "Torture and Abuse by Police Is the Norm in Russian Prisons", Newsweek (3/29/16 at 6:31 AM).
  26. Salopek, Paul, "Vladimir Putin’s Mysterious Moving Border", Politico 4.3.16.
  27. Ragozin, Leonid, "How to Make California Great: Secede, With a Little Help From Putin", Bloomberg (12/7/16 at 5:00 AM PST).
  28. Steven Lee Myers and Eric Schmidt, "Russian Military Uses Syria as Proving Ground, and West Takes Notice", NYT 10.14.15.
  29. Gay parades banned in Moscow for 100 years, BBC
  30. Homophobe of the Year: Vladimir Putin, The Advocate
  31. Russia's Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmila divorce, BBC
  32. A coincidence. Really.
  33. Remnick, David, "Watching the Eclipse"], New Yorker August 2014.
  36. Interview with German television channel ARD and ZDF, May 2005. [1]
  37. This is who we're dealing with.
  38. Kremlin has plan B for poll run-off, Financial Times
  39. "Political Report of the CPRF Central Committee to the 13th Party Congress"
  40. Putin is no Stalin. He’s a latter-day Brezhnev, Times of London
  41. At the website for old Soviet jokes, Laughing under the Covers, those about Brezhnev tend to focus on his vanity and senility, e.g. At a Politburo meeting, Brezhnev says, "Comrades, it's intolerable. Some Politburo members have practically become senile, play children's games, ride rocking horses. And look, comrade Gromyko has taken away my tin soldiers and (Brezhnev weeps) will not give them back..." [Note: edited for grammar and spelling]
  42. Riddle: What has four legs and forty teeth? Answer: an alligator. What has forty legs and four teeth? Answer: Brezhnev's Politburo. [Note: edited for grammar and spelling].
  43. The end of the Putin mystique, Washington Post
  44. Trapped in His Own Labyrinth: Putin, Ukraine, and MH17, Bloomberg Businessweek
  45. Ioffe, Julia, "Putin's Press Conference Proved Merkel Right: He's Nuts", New Republic 3.4.14.
  46. Krisztina Than and Michael Kahn, "Pipeline politics: new gas route revives Russian rivalry with West", Reuters (2/24/15 at 3:52pm EST).
  47. "Stealing Their Dream", Economist 11.30.13.
  48. Meyer, Henry, "Putin's Propaganda Machine Is Meddling With European Elections", Bloomberg (April 19, 2016 — 7:00 PM PDT).
  49. Higgins, Andrew, "Effort to Expose Russia’s ‘Troll Army’ Draws Vicious Retaliation", NYT 5.30.16. It's /pol/servatism, and it's the future. Everyone talks about brownshirts, but what about Mao's Red Guard?>
  50. "Botox trends on Twitter amid Vladimir Putin surgery rumours", Telegraph.
  51. Putin's net-worth is $200 billion says Russia's once largest foreigner investor
  53. Mandel, "The Vladimir Putin Fan Club", Commentary 5.1.14.
  54. Russia and the European Far Left
  55. Michel, Casey, "How Putin Played the Far-left", Daily Beast (01.12.17 10:15 PM E).
  56. von Rohr, Mathieu, "Interview with Marine Le Pen - 'I Don't Want this European Soviet Union'", Dep Speigel (6/3/14 at 06:07 pm).
  57. Nascimbeni, Francois, "Russia funds French National Front: is Moscow sowing European unrest?", The Week 11.5.15.
  58. Morris, Nigel, "Nigel Farage: Vladimir Putin is the world leader I most admire", Independent 3.30.14.
  59. Odenhal, Bernhard, "Gipfeltreffen mit Putins fünfter Kolonne", Tagesanzeiger 3.6.14. English translation: Other guests in the Palais Liechtenstein also lauded Putin. One speaker proclaimed the Russian President to be the "Redeemer" and the reincarnation of Alexander the First. Fifth column for everybody!
  60. Kovalev, "A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media", Medium 1.12.17.
  61. Manafort is infamous for being a propaganda minister, PR spinner, and general advisor/lobbyist for such "heroes" as Putinist kleptocrat Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine, terrorist Jonas Savimbi of Angola, dictator Mobutu Seso Seko of Zaire, and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines.
  62. David Filipov and Andrew Roth, "Moscow had contacts with Trump team during campaign, Russian diplomat says", WaPo (10/10/16 at 12:28 PM).
  63. Schreckinger, Ben, "Inside Trump's 'cyborg' Twitter army", Politico (09/30/16 at 05:06 AM EDT).
  64. Ashley Parker and David E. Sanger, "Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails" NYT 7.27.16.
  65. "Donald Trump says the U.S. gets 'no respect' from Vladimir Putin", WaPo 7.27.16.
  66. Matt Egan, Julia Horowitz and Chris Isidore, "Behind the deep ties between Exxon's Rex Tillerson and Russia", CNN (12/11/16 at 7:20 PM ET).
  67. Jonathan Landay and Arshad Mohammed, "Trump adviser had five calls with Russian envoy on day of sanctions: sources", Reuters (1/13/17 at 7:39pm EST).
  68. David E. Sanger and Charlie Savage, "U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections" NYT 10.7.16.
  69. Francheschi-Biccherai, Lorenzo, "Guccier 2.0 is Likely a Russian Government Attempt To Cover Up Their Own Hack", Motherboard (6/16/16 at 1:35 PM EST).
  70. Timberg, Craig, "Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say", WaPo 11.24.16.
  71. Nakashima, Ellen, "Russian hackers targeted Arizona election system", WaPo 8.29.16.
  72. Rogin, Josh, "Trump allies, WikiLeaks and Russia are pushing a nonsensical conspiracy theory about the DNC hacks" WaPo 8.12.16.
  73. Donald Trump Likely to End Aid for Rebels Fighting Syrian Government
  74. Levitz, Eric, "Donald Trump Plans to ‘Pare Back’ Top U.S. Spy Agency", New York magazine (1/4/17 at 6:41 p.m.).
  75. Smith, Allan, "Report: Comey expressed concerns about accusing Russia of meddling with election because it was too close to November", Business Insider (10/31/16 at 5:19 PM).
  76. Andrew Osborne and Christian Lowe, "Russia revels in Trump victory, looks to sanctions relief", Reuters (11/9/16 at 3:54pm EST).
  79. Kludt, Tom, "Pat Buchanan Thinks God Is On Putin's Side", TPM (4/4/14 at 11:38 AM EDT).
  80. Pro-America.
  81. When the right loved Vladimir Putin, Salon
  82. Make Putin President! (and the inevitable Daily Show smackdown.)
  83. "Fats" Vladimir sings "Blueberry Hill"
  84. And creates hilariously awful propaganda campaigns in the process.
  85. Did the Lomo camera save film photography?, BBC
  86. Reality check on Russia's 'zombie ray gun' program, NBC News
  87. Crimea move makes Sochi look like $50 billion in wasted PR for Russia, Sunday Morning Herald
  88. Russian Police Choir Covers Daft Punk's "Get Lucky"
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