Information icon.svg Voting is completed for the RationalWiki 2021 Moderator Election and the results are now posted.
Congratulations to the winners!
Bronze-level article

Vladimir Putin

From RationalWiki
(Redirected from Pussy Riot)
Jump to: navigation, search
Always watching.
How the sausage is made
Icon politics.svg
As usual
Country sections
United States politics British politics Chinese politics French politics Indian politics Israeli politics Japanese politics South Korean politics
Were you looking for the popular Quebecois snack? Or perhaps you were looking for a French putain? Or perhaps you have been pootin'?
Some are against [NATO] enlargement because of the fear of provoking a nationalist response in Russia—that is a silly argument.
Bill Clinton (oops)[1]
Vladimir Putin's full name is "Tom Clancy's Vladimir Putin."
—Chase Mitchell[2]

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Владимир Владимирович Путин; born 1952), a.k.a. "Pootie-Poot",[3] is a shirtless, bear-riding man who hunts journalists "former" KGB agent[4] (by which we mean "boring desk job")[5] and dictator of Russia. The longest-running Russian leader since Leonid Brezhnev, he alternates between President (2000-2008, 2012-onward) and Prime Minister (1999-2000, 2008-2012) whenever convenient. In 2008 the Russian government extended the Presidential term of office from four to six years,[6] and in a 2020 referendum the Russian people voted overwhelmingly for constitutional changes which will allow Putin to serve two more six-year terms, meaning Putin can legally serve as President until 2036.[7] He presides over a nominally democratic nation which features a lot of backdoor deals with criminal syndicates.

His rhetoric and governing style have earned him a neologism: Putinism.Wikipedia After the turmoil of the Yeltsin years, Putinists hark back to something more similar to the BrezhnevWikipedia days, when Russia did what was best for Russia and flipped the bird at the West while doing so. For Russians who endured the emasculation of the 1990s, 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.[8]

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 (his main opposition is a bunch of tankies).[9][10] The only possible exception to this rule is Alexei Navalny, who is currently rotting in prison[11] for the heinous crime of "not dying from Novichok poisoning" (a serious crime in Russia, apparently).[12]

Rise to power[edit]

During the Soviet Union's existence, Putin held a minor KGB post in East Germany.[13]:44 When Yeltsin fell ill, his entourage tried to find a successor by first taking a popular opinion poll of fictional heroes; the winner of the poll was the character Max Otto von Stierlitz of the TV serial Seventeen Moments in Spring.[13]:44[14] Stierlitz was portrayed as a KGB agent in Germany during the final year of World War II,[15] and Putin was seen as the closest match.[13]:44 Putin was subsequently appointed as Yeltsin's prime minister in August 1999, but Putin was generally unknown to the Russian public, having an approval rating of 2%.[13]:45 In September 1999 a series of bombs exploded in Russian cities, killing 307 people.[13]:45[16] The bombings were blamed on Chechen separatists, resulting in the widening of the Second Chechen War.Wikipedia The apartment bombings are widely believed to have been a false flag operation to improve Putin's image prior to Yeltsin's imminent demise,[13]:45 for example three FSB agents who had planted bombs were arrested by Ryazan local police.[17] Putin's first presidential election set the stage for electoral fraud both within Russia, and as an item for export, using a combination of unequal media coverage, vote tally manipulation, and exploitation of war propaganda.[13]:45 Putin has never won a fair election, but for Putin it is only the appearance of winning that matters.[13]:45-51

Political affiliations[edit]

Arguably, Putin has no political views at all other than consolidating money and power for himself because he has held seemingly-contradictory views over his lifetime: Christianity, communism, and fascism. He is a poster child for horseshoe theory, or perhaps utilitarianism. He also has staked out a position similar to National Bolshevism, "He wanted a reconciliation of what he called the tradition of Red and White, communist and Orthodox, terror and God."[13]:58

Putin most likely joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the early between 1970 and 1975 when he was attending law school at Leningrad State University. The university was a recruiting ground for KGB agents, and the KGB targeted him before recruitment before 1975,[18] and becoming an agent would have required party membership. Putin claimed to have been eager for recruitment,[18] Regarding party membership, Putin stated, "I wasn't a party member through necessity. I can't say I was totally an ideological Communist but I did really treasure it [having a Communist Party card]."[19] Putin retained in the party until its dissolution in 1991.[20] Regardless of his alleged lack of ideological fervor, he eagerly did the Communist Party's bidding in the KGB from at least 1977-1991, working on international espionage and eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[18][21]:9-10

Close to the beginning of Putin's autocratic rule in 2005,[22] Putin had fascist philosopher Ivan Ilyin'sWikipedia remains transferred from Switzerland and reburied in Moscow where he later personally consecrated them.[13]:17[23] In 2006, Putin sent an emissary to Michigan State University to claim Ilyin's personal papers.[13]:17-18 Putin had by then been citing Ilyin in presidential addresses to the Russian legislature.[13]:18 By the 2010s, Putin was using Ilyin in arguments for undermining the European Union and for invading Ukraine.[13]:18 It is ironic that Putin had the rank of colonel in the Soviet KGB, a descendant organization of the Cheka that had arrested Ilyin during the Russian Revolution.

Based on Ilyin's writings and a mythic, ahistorical view of Vladimir the Great,Wikipedia Putin has made irredentist arguments that Ukrainians and Belarusians did not exist as peoples separate from Russians, arguments that set the stage for the annexation of Crimea and the Russian-sponsored war in eastern Ukraine.[13]:{{{1}}}

Reality-defying good stuff?[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Stopped clock
You can be a three-headed tyrant as long as everyone has jobs and is working.
—Jack Ablin[24]

Putin got the job of heading up 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 an economic and political backwater elbowing itself back into the geopolitical vortex. There was unexpectedly high economic growth during his first term as president: he balanced the budget wait, he reduced the national debt by 90%?[25] Russia achieved this primarily by boosting GDP, making the national debt a smaller fraction of a larger GDP.[26]

The Russian economy grew for eight straight years, seeing GDP increase by 72% in PPP (sixfold in nominal). Wages tripled, incomes increased, unemployment and poverty more than halved, and Russia's self-assessed life-satisfaction rose significantly, if only because Russians had money in their pockets for once. The ideal model is "corrupt but somewhat-competent", we guess.

The majority of Russian exports are oil and gas,[27][28] which are integral to the Russian 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 the general land-laws underwent modernization.

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

Putin signed the Kyoto Protocol (though the terms were easy for Russia), something the United States never did. Speaking of the US, he granted asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, if for no other reason than to stick it to Washington.

As brutal as Putin was to the Chechens, they've not been angels to Russian civilians either. Between creating hostage situations in theatres[29] and elementary schools,[30] and suicide bombings,[31] there was a period where Chechen separatists posed a real threat to safety in Russia. The installation of strongman Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya, while creating numerous issues, has at least ended these.

Putin accrues another bonus simply by not being Boris Yeltsin. After the disastrous 90s, many Russians are quite happy with a leader who is at least sober as opposed to a vomit and vodka soaked lunatic.

And the reality-returning bad stuff[edit]

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[32]

Resource economy[edit]

Russia has been in a recession since 2014.[33] Their economy is still too dependent upon oil:[34] 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.[35] But he's definitely "eating Obama's lunch."[36] He also once speculated that warming by “two or three degrees” could be a good thing for the economy, since they'll spend less on fur coats.[37] By fur coats he means all that arctic oil which will be open for exploration by the state enterprises he and his friends control.[38]

Russia has been decimated by heat waves, wildfires, and crop losses over the past decade, so climate change hasn't entirely been a bowl of cherries for the country.[39][40][41] And considering Russia is mainly a landlocked country there's a bigger risk for serious droughts. But, as Bush's anti-environmental cohort has said, There is still debate on climate change[42] There is no climate change[43] it will be good for some regions.[44] Soon we'll feed everyone with food grown in the temperate and hospitable Siberia. Problem is, Siberia has no groundwater,[45] and is far too arid to support agriculture on a relevant scale.[46] Turn the crank and see which excuse comes out next. As a result (or just given life in rural Russia), Russia's birthrate is falling off a cliff, as the huge drunken underclass historically press-ganged into a bullying, ill equipped army and used as cannon fodder is fading away. As Russia has always used their numbers (and some scorched earth policies) to win wars, this must count as a big hole in their historic 'defense' plans.[47]

Human rights violations[edit]

His record on human rights has been marked by the flattening of Chechnya, the demolition of Georgia, the crackdown of all media, especially independently-owned media that has been critical of the Kremlin such as NTV,[48] the instigation of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine that culminated in the accidental downing of a civilian aircraft,[49] the bombing of aid convoys,[50] the slew of Kremlin opponents dropping dead from polonium poisoning,[51][52] Russian soldiers taking long "vacations",[53] and the suppression and abuse of protestors.[54][55] Only in 2017 could you be arrested for protesting a ban on protests.

"And Russia has no gay people."[edit]

This image is banned in Russia[56] because gay clown Putin is weak!

In 2012, he banned gay pride parades and protests in Moscow for 100 years,[57] along with a variety of other draconic restrictions on homosexual rights, doubtlessly as a way to court the fundamentalist vote.[58] Shortly after, he continued to uphold the traditional family by getting divorced.[59] 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.[60]

Putin's hyper-masculine posturing (bareback on a horse, etc.[61]) and his state-sanctioned homophobia are part of a calculated plan of both domestic and foreign policy. It doesn't matter that in the real world, being hyper-masculine and being gay are not mutually exclusive.[62][63] Russian targets of homophobia have included Ukrainian politicians, the European Union, and the West in general.[13]:51-53,133 For the Russian state, attempting to smear with assertions of homosexuality is usually couched in that age-old Soviet fallacy of whataboutism ("when the subject is inequality, change it to sexuality").[13]:100

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

Putin's rise to power required the downfall of Russian apartment buildings
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[64]

In 1999, there was a disgusting terror attack in which the FSB bombed buildings (with people sleeping in them) to provide pretext for another war with Chechnya.[13]:45 The attacks boosted Putin's popularity and delivered him the presidency.[65] That case is still open, but activists, investigators, lawyers, politicians, and journalists have been dropping like flies around him for years and no one ever bats an eye, it seems.[66][67]

Remember the anti-gay propaganda bill from above? That was sponsored and proposed by extremist Irina Yarovaya, the Russian Ted Cruz. Why bring her up? Putin signed another Yarovaya bill into law, one 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.[68] The new measures include massive restrictions on privacy, speech, freedom of conscience, and religious expression.[69] Even then, some parts of it are just unenforceable - it demands that phone and internet providers keep all data for 3 years, and every major Russian telecom company has declared that impossible.

What happens after him?[edit]

The very dread of what comes next generates a sense of threat that can be projected upon others as foreign policy. Totalitarianism is its own worst enemy, and that is the secret it keeps from itself by attacking others.
—Timothy Snyder[13]:29

Although the constitution grants enormous powers to the President, you don't think of "power" when you look at Dmitry Medvedev. If Medvedev held the cards, Putin owned the deck, and life after Putin is the great unknown for Russia. He brought the country back from a disorganized, hyper-capitalist, brutally anarchic hell and re-centralized federal authority behind a strongman whom the country adores, the typical standard of living for most of Russia's existence. But it comes with a price. With without the towering figure of Putin, Russia faces a failing economy, the threat of secession (see Chechnya), a bloated bureaucracy, and an ever-present oligarchy and military-security establishment unwilling to give up their power. There is no ruling class, the oligarchs are paper tigers in the face of a strongman, the mafia is so powerful even the Kremlin has to work out deals with them and their puppet oligarchs, the siloviki (military-security types) are basically a junta riding the coattails of the President, and the actual government (from the Federal Assembly to the Prime Minister) are not popular with the people. This Putin-centered status quo will likely not last without the man himself, and there will be jockeying for power once he finally kicks the bucket.[70][71] Expect some murders.

Back to the Purges[edit]

Putin recently enacted a purge against some of the titans of the country. Many of these men were either friends, business partners, members of the Saint Petersburg establishment, or fellow colleagues in the KGB. Their removals were sudden and unexpected, and their replacements consisted of sycophants like Anton Vaino (Kremlin Chief of Staff) who grew up only knowing Putin as the head of the country. The purged names include Vladimir Yakunin, CEO of the Russian Railways; former Chief of Staff Sergey Ivanov, his longtime ally and one-time rival to Medvedev for the Presidency; Yevgeny Murov, former head of the Federal Protection Service; Viktor Ivanov, former head of the Federal Narcotics Service; Konstantin Romodanovsky, former head of the Migration Service; Andrei Belianinov, former head of the Customs Service; and Sergey Naryshkin, former Chairman of the State Duma.[72][73][74]

USSR cover band[edit]

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[75]
He's not exactly fun to be around. But...

Russia continues to back separatists in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria along with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova and, er....Texas?[76][77]

Putin has said that Stalin's legacy can't be judged in black and white.[78] As such, Putin's policies have been likened to the Soviet era, which has received a lukewarm response by Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov.[79][80] 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,[81][82] leading some commentators to wonder if Putin had finally lost his marbles.[83]

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.[84] (More importantly, Ukraine was making noises about joining NATO.[85] Putin went in before they could.)

Contrary to a popular opinion, Putin most likely doesn't want EU to disintegrate (Russia has very strong economic ties to the European Union, and if the EU ceased to exist, it would be a disaster for the Russian economy[86]); however, he certainly wouldn't mind it becoming somewhat less united and more amenable, 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 it is absolutely in Putin's character to try to control the narrative in areas previously part of the Soviet sphere of influenceWikipedia. This would include some non-NATO countries, like Georgia and Ukraine; judging by Putin's more interesting adventures, the goal 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.[87][88]

If I Were A Rich Man[edit]

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.[89]

For comparison, as of late 2017, the "official" richest person in the world (the person who verifiably has the most wealth in their own name) is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, whose net worth is around $100 billion (though fluctuating wildly). Second is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, at around $90 billion. According to Browder, Putin doesn't really need any wealth because he has absolute power and there is just an illusion of oligarchy.[90] The lack of a real oligarchy became apparent when Mikhail Khodorkovsky was imprisoned and later exiled for annoying the boss.[91]

Science and technology[edit]

Putin has expressed contradictory views on new technologies:

I believe that [new] business models are not a threat to existing ones. [...] But, objectively, they do represent a threat.[92]

Putin has given official state support for innovation and has said Russia can build a vibrant and diversified economy through technical and scientific prowess.[93] However, the Russian state often stifles growth and undermines this goal through widespread corruption, the increasing power of Russian security services, as well as insufficient democratic checks and balances.[93] The controversial arrest of physicist Dmitri Trubitsyn caused outrage among scientists in Russia, who viewed it as contradictory to Russia's stated economic aims.[93] According to Russian writer Alfred KochWikipedia, Putin has taken steps to destroy higher education and cut the financing of science because he considers the thinking and educated to be a threat to his regime.[94]

Putin has been described as a luddite since he does not have a smartphone, doesn't use email and doesn't have any social network accounts.[95] He has also described the internet as a "CIA project".[96] According to Time, Putin's apparent technophobia is due to his knowledge of KGB eavesdropping practices and he wants to make it as easy as possible to keep his conversations private.[97]

Recently, he has condemned Bitcoin and called for Russia to impose a ban on digital currencies.[98]

Pussy Riot[edit]

Some of the grrls.

Pussy RiotWikipedia is a feminist Russian all-female punk band. They attracted international attention after staging an unauthorised concert in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 2012 - performing songs which denounced Vladimir Putin — and three of them were arrested for 'hooliganism'. One reason that the cathedral was selected for the protest is the support for Putin given by Russian Orthodox Church leader, Patriarch Kirill.

Their case has aroused widespread concern after claims of harsh treatment while in custody, and a harsh sentence for what is seen by many as an issue of free speech. The federal prosecutor's demand for a custodial sentence is seen as a return to hard-line Soviet era quashing of dissent by Putin.

In August 2012, three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years' imprisonment for their role in the Cathedral of Christ concert.[99] According to reports, one member was hospitalised because of illnesses she contracted as a result of prison work.[100] One member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released in 2012. The remaining pair, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were released from prison in the lead-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics, and (according to an anonymous statement on behalf of some of the band's members) booted from the band because they joined the Judean People's Front abandoned the group's original political values.[101] This is, however, called into a little bit of doubt by the fact that both were in the band's performance at the Olympics, where they were attacked with whips and pepper spray by security.[102]

International support[edit]

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[103]

Putin is popular with certain elements of the left,[104] particularly people who oppose Atlanticism,Wikipedia 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.[105][106] Putin, a literal Judo master (or perhaps not[107]), 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,[108] Farage,[109] or Strache) and left-wingers (like Alexis Tsipras, Bernd Riexinger, George Galloway and Katja Kipping) to persons close to the Russian government.[110]

2016 US election interference[edit]

Putin with his pal.
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[111]

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.[112][113][114] Trump publicly ordered Russia to deliver the goods on Clinton, which they did.[115] He continues to praise Russia and belittle his own nation to the news media.[116] 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.)[117] Now it appears he was not only coordinating with the Kremlin through his network and violating the Logan Act,[118] but the consensus in the U.S intelligence community is that Russia was behind the Guccifer 2.0 email 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.[119][120][121][122][123] However, the lack of publicly available evidence and suspicious parallels with the notorious 2002 intelligence reports on Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" led some analysts to question the whole "Russian hack" narrative.[124][125] The strangest detail is the clumsiness of the "Guccifer 2.0" persona, with his Google-translated Romanian and blatant Russian language clues in the metadata; as James BamfordWikipedia put it, "the sloppy, Inspector Clouseau-like nature of the Guccifer 2.0 operation... smacked more of either an amateur operation or a deliberate deception".[126]

The United States has sent its best people to prevent further election interference.

During the election, Trump said he might stop sending aid to anti-Assad rebels in Syria as part of a U.S.-Russia peace process.[127] Six months after taking office, the program ended, largely due to its failure to achieve the desired result of toppling the Syrian government.[128] Trump is even talking about reducing the power of American intelligence agencies specifically because they have information about Russia that Russia says is false.[129] He's already trashed the FBI's credibility and valued apolitical position.[130]

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 its 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 would be a giant weight lifted off the Russian economy.[131]

Buyers' Remorse[edit]

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 grew within 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.[132]

You like me, you really like me[edit]

In the new war of beliefs, Putin is saying, it is Russia that is on God’s side. The West is Gomorrah.
Pat Buchanan[133]

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.[134] It's not just them; Patrick Buchanan and Fox News talking heads have also expressed an odd admiration for his style of leadership.[135][136]

And now for something completely different[edit]

No shirt? No problem!

Known for an alarmingly higher-pitched voice than his face indicates,[137] 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.[138] 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 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."[139]

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.[140]

Putin also holds the Guinness World Record for holding the most expensive (and weirdest) Olympic Games ever.[141][142] They were also perhaps the most dopingest in a long time. Or at least that's what we know thanks to Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov and American documentary film-maker and amateur doping enthusiast Bryan Fogel[143]

He has said that he is a devout communist and joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union by choice, comparing communism to Christianity and Lenin to a saint. But in another interview saying that Lenin didn't go far enough with implementing communism. However, he has said that he doesn't want to revive the old Soviet Union but regrets its collapse, preferring to think to the future.

See also[edit]

  • Bashar al-Assad - His little lapdog close ally in the Middle East
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — Take all of the above and ram it up to eleven, and you got yourself a constitutionally-enshrined dictator, not just an autocrat with authoritarian leanings like his colleagues. Along with Putin and Orbán, these three are the most dangerous men in Europe; Erdoğan for his rivalry with the Kurds, Orbán for his denial of refugees during the migrant crisis, and Putin for his Ukraine escapades. But unlike Putin, Erdogan and Orbán just don't have the ability to do anything but put their countries in rewind mode.
  • Nashi
  • Viktor Orbán - Another reactionary who took over the media, twisted electoral law into his favor to stay in power (even changing the constitution to that end), uses anti-liberal and anti-democratic language to drum up intense populist fervor, and rages against the west as a bogeyman while inflaming ethnic tensions whenever politically convenient.
  • RT — If you're looking for op-eds, RT isn't all bad. They've got Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Chris Hedges, anarcho-syndicalist Noam Chomsky, Patrick Cockburn, Alex Salmond, and Julian Assange, nearly all of whom supported Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump. (And, uhh, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones... for balance, we guess?) But that doesn't make it Russia's PBS.
  • Trump-Russia connection
  • Whataboutism and moral equivalence — These are unsurprisingly, favorite tactics for this former-KGB officer.[144]
  • Vladimir Zhirinovsky


External links[edit]


  1. Transcript of Telcon with Labour Party Leader and Prime Minister-elect Tony Blair , Clinton Presidential Library (1 May 1997, 11:25 pm).
  2. Humorously enough, there was a Putin as depicted by Clancy. He didn't end up so well.
  3. W's nickname for PutinWikipedia
  4. "The making of a neo-KGB state", Economist 8.23.07.
  5. Hoffman, David, "Putin's Career Rooted in Russia's KGB", WaPo 1.30.2000 Page A1.
  6. Sefanov, Mike (22 December 2008) Russian presidential term extended to 6 years
  7. Referendum In Russia Passes, Allowing Putin To Remain President Until 2036, NPR (1 July 2020)
  8. Behind the Scenes in Putin's Court: The Private Habits of a Latter-Day Dictator, Newsweek
  9. 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.
  10. Bennetts and Alexander, "Vladimir Putin's Red Scare? Inside Russia's Resurgent Communist Party", Newsweek via Reuters (7/31/16 at 9:00 AM).
  11. Opinion: For Putin, it wasn’t enough to smear, harass and poison Navalny The Washington Post 2 March 2021
  12. 'No Doubt' That Navalny Poisoning Was Russian Operation, Former CIA Russia Chief Says NPR 3 September 2020
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 13.14 13.15 13.16 13.17 The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder (2018) Tim Duggan Books. ISBN 0525574468.
  14. Semnadtsat mgnoveniy vesny (1973) IMDb.
  15. [ Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973) Plot] IMDb.
  16. See the Wikipedia article on Russian apartment bombings.
  17. The Moscow bombings of September 1999 examinations of Russian terrorist attacks at the onset of Vladimir Putin's rule by John B. Dunlop (2014) Ibidem-Verlag. ISBN 3838206088.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Putin's Career Rooted in Russia's KGB by David Hoffman (2000) The Washington Post.
  19. Putin still has his Communist Party card, likes socialist ideals (January 25, 2016) AFP via Yahoo News.
  20. От первого лица разговоры с Владимиром Путиным (2000) Vagrius. ISBN 5264002576. Excerpt reprinted by The Kremlin (archived from June 30, 2009).
  21. Putin: Russia's Choice by Richard Sakwa (2004) Routledge. ISBN 0415296633.
  22. Russia (2005) Freedom House.
  23. Putin Can’t Stop by David Brooks (March 3, 2014) The New York Times.
  24. Will Putin run for his money?, Toronto Star
  25. Ruskie Wikipedia
  26. Russia Government Debt to GDP, Investopedia
  27. Overview of the Economic Survey of the Russian Federation, OECD
  28. Makhatadze, Ekaterine (2014-05-30). "Russia's impact on the European Union's energy security". p. 5. "In 2007, the European Union imported from Russia 185 million tons of crude oil that accounted for 32.6% of total oil import, and 100.7 million tons of oil equivalent of natural gas, which accounted [sic] 38.7% of total gas import."  The EU encompasses 41% of all Russian trade. And as you know, relations between both powers have gone quite well recently.
  29. See the Wikipedia article on Moscow theater hostage crisis.
  30. See the Wikipedia article on Beslan school siege.
  31. See the Wikipedia article on 2004 Russian aircraft bombings.
  32. "Vladimir Putin Op/Ed"
  33. Russia GDP Growth Rate 1995-2017, Trading Economics.
  34. "Crude Oil Price Forecast: Long Term 2016 to 2025", knoema.
  35. "Russia GDP Growth Forecast 2015-2020 and up to 2060, Data and Charts - G20 Economic Forecast, knoema.
  36. Trump: Putin has "eaten Obama's lunch", Today 12.31.16.
  37. Pierce, Fred, "Global warming ‘will hurt Russia’", New Scientist 3 October 2003. Global warming will soon be pushed out of a window or accidentally drink radioactive tea.
  38. Cheng, Selia, "Putin went to the Arctic to strengthen Russia’s foothold in the region with his own two feet", Quartz 31 March 2017.
  39. Framer, Andrew E., "Russia, Crippled by Drought, Bans Grain Exports", NYT 5 August 2016. There's a reason Russia's had so many famines.
  40. "NASA Spots Fires and Smoke from Eastern Russia Wildfires", NASA 12 August 2016.
  41. "Record heat and abnormal flooding as Siberia gets freak weather", Siberian Times 4 July 2016.
  42. Nick Paton Walsh and Paul Brown, "EU alarmed as Putin backtracks on Kyoto", Guardian (30 September 2003, 5.40 EDT).
  43. Kuzmin, Andrey, "Russian media take climate cue from skeptical Putin", Reuters (29 Oct 2015, 7:52am EDT).
  44. Seth Meredith and Geoff Cutmore, "Climate change doubters may not be so silly, says Russia President Putin", MSNBC (30 Mar 2017, 9:45 AM ET).
  45. Killalea, Debra "Siberia crater ‘Gateway to the Underworld’: Melting permafrost a huge problem for the planet", ABC (8 Junes 2016, 7:51am).
  46. Flintoff, Corey, "For Russian Farmers, Climate Change Is Nyet So Great", NPR (21 February 2016, 12:11 PM ET).
  47. CIA World Fact Book " CIA World Fact Book: Birth Rates 2017
  48. Kara-Murza, Vladimir. (June 20, 2013) The Kremlin’s Voice: 10 Years Without Independent TV in Russia. Institute of Modern Russia. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  49. Somini Sengupta and Andrew E. Kramer, "Dutch Inquiry Links Russia to 298 Deaths in Explosion of Jetliner Over Ukraine", NYT 9.28.16.
  50. 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!
  51. President Putin 'probably' approved Litvinenko murder
  52. Kramer, Andrew E., "More of Kremlin’s Opponents Are Ending Up Dead", NYT 8.20.16.
  53. McCoy, Terrence, "Russians troops fighting in Ukraine? Naw. They’re just on ‘vacation.’", WaPo 8.28.14.
  54. Herszenhorn, David M., "New Russian Law Assesses Heavy Fines on Protesters", NYT 6.8.12.
  55. Bennetts, Mark, "Torture and Abuse by Police Is the Norm in Russian Prisons", Newsweek (3/29/16 at 6:31 AM).
  56. It’s now illegal in Russia to share an image of Putin as a gay clown by Avi Selk & David Filipov (April 5, 2017) The Washington Post.
  57. Gay parades banned in Moscow for 100 years, BBC
  58. Homophobe of the Year: Vladimir Putin, The Advocate
  59. Russia's Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmila divorce, BBC
  60. A coincidence. Really.
  61. Putin's macho image (Dec 5, 2011) Reuters.
  62. See the Wikipedia article on Tom of Finland.
  63. See the Wikipedia article on Village People.
  64. Remnick, David, "Watching the Eclipse", New Yorker August 2014.
  65. Tyler, Patrick E., "Russian Says Kremlin Faked 'Terror Attacks'", NYT 1 February 2002.
  66. Filipov, David, "Here are 10 critics of Vladimir Putin who died violently or in suspicious ways", WaPo 23 March 2017.
  67. "Russian Lawyer Injured in Mysterious Fall Before Court Appearance", Snopes 22 March 2017.
  68. How Russia’s New Anti-Extremism Law Affects Mormon Missionaries HuffPost 12 July 2016
  69. Draconian Law Rammed Through Russian Parliament - Outrageous Provisions to Curb Speech, Privacy, Freedom of Conscience Human Rights Watch 23 June 2016
  70. Opinion: What Russia After Putin? The New York Times 8 November 2016
  71. A Fallen Russia Oligarch Sends Warning to Rest of Putin Insiders Bloomberg 13 January 2016
  72. Putin’s Great Purge The American Interest 24 August 2016
  73. Putin's purge of old friends points to tightening grip on power The Guardian 18 August 2016
  74. OPINION: Putin's Purge Puts Kremlin Elites on Notice Newsweek 28 August 2016
  75. Interview with German television channel ARD and ZDF, May 2005. [1]
  76. Salopek, Paul, "Vladimir Putin’s Mysterious Moving Border", Politico 4.3.16.
  77. Ragozin, Leonid, "How to Make California Great: Secede, With a Little Help From Putin", Bloomberg (12/7/16 at 5:00 AM PST).
  78. This is who we're dealing with.
  79. Kremlin has plan B for poll run-off, Financial Times
  80. "Political Report of the CPRF Central Committee to the 13th Party Congress"
  81. The end of the Putin mystique, Washington Post
  82. Trapped in His Own Labyrinth: Putin, Ukraine, and MH17, Bloomberg Businessweek
  83. Ioffe, Julia, "Putin's Press Conference Proved Merkel Right: He's Nuts", New Republic 3.4.14.
  84. Krisztina Than and Michael Kahn, "Pipeline politics: new gas route revives Russian rivalry with West", Reuters (2/24/15 at 3:52pm EST).
  85. "Stealing Their Dream", Economist 11.30.13.
  86. Vladimir Putin is not ready to toast Brexit
  87. Meyer, Henry, "Putin's Propaganda Machine Is Meddling With European Elections", Bloomberg (April 19, 2016 — 7:00 PM PDT).
  88. 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?>
  89. "Botox trends on Twitter amid Vladimir Putin surgery rumours", Telegraph.
  90. Putin's net-worth is $200 billion says Russia's once largest foreigner investor
  91. Profile: Mikhail Khodorkovsky BBC News 22 December 2013
  92. Henni, Adrien. Putin: Tech should not be demonized, but it is ‘an objective threat’ to businesses VentureBeat. November 25, 2016
  93. 93.0 93.1 93.2 Russia Wants Innovation, but It's Arresting Its Innovators The New York Times
  94. Alfred Koch: Putin’s rejection of science and fear of the educated destroying Russia’s future Euromaidan Press
  95. Orlova, Karina. Inside Putin’s Echo Chamber The American Interest. June 26, 2017
  96. MacAskill, Ewen. Putin calls internet a 'CIA project' renewing fears of web breakup The Guardian UK. April 24, 2014
  97. Shuster, Simon. Putin’s Fear of Texting Kept U.S. Spymasters in the Dark TIME. March 24, 2014
  98. Dinkins, David. Putin Condemns Bitcoin, Calls for Russian Ban of Digital Currencies October 10, 2017
  99. BBC news, "Pussy Riot members jailed for two years for hooliganism", 17 August 2012.
  100. Alternet, "Is the Russia Prison System Working Pussy Riot Member to Death?", 1 February 2013
  101. "Russia's Pussy Riot disowns freed pair", 6 February 2014
  102. Cossacks attack Pussy Riot in Sochi with whips and pepper spray The Age 20 February 2014
  103. Mandel, "The Vladimir Putin Fan Club", Commentary 5.1.14.
  104. Russia and the European Far Left
  105. Michel, Casey, "How Putin Played the Far-left", Daily Beast (01.12.17 10:15 PM E).
  106. 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).
  107. Is Vladimir Putin a judo fraud? by Derek Hawkins (July 18, 2017 at 6:00 AM) The Washington Post.
  108. Nascimbeni, Francois, "Russia funds French National Front: is Moscow sowing European unrest?", The Week 11.5.15.
  109. Morris, Nigel, "Nigel Farage: Vladimir Putin is the world leader I most admire", Independent 3.30.14.
  110. 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!
  111. Kovalev, "A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media", Medium 1.12.17.
  112. 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.
  113. David Filipov and Andrew Roth, "Moscow had contacts with Trump team during campaign, Russian diplomat says", WaPo (10/10/16 at 12:28 PM).
  114. Schreckinger, Ben, "Inside Trump's 'cyborg' Twitter army", Politico (09/30/16 at 05:06 AM EDT).
  115. Ashley Parker and David E. Sanger, "Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails" NYT 7.27.16.
  116. "Donald Trump says the U.S. gets 'no respect' from Vladimir Putin", WaPo 7.27.16.
  117. 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).
  118. 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).
  119. David E. Sanger and Charlie Savage, "U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections" NYT 10.7.16.
  120. 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).
  121. Timberg, Craig, "Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say", WaPo 11.24.16.
  122. Nakashima, Ellen, "Russian hackers targeted Arizona election system", WaPo 8.29.16.
  123. Rogin, Josh, "Trump allies, WikiLeaks and Russia are pushing a nonsensical conspiracy theory about the DNC hacks" WaPo 8.12.16.
  124. Why Some U.S. Ex-Spies Don't Buy the Russia Story: Evidence that undermines the "election hack" narrative should get more attention. by Leonid Bershidsky (August 10, 2017, 7:39 AM PDT. Corrected August 10, 2017, 10:39 AM PDT) Bloomberg.
  125. Russian Intervention in American Election Was No One-Off by Scott Shane (January 6, 2017) New York Times.
  126. Commentary: Don't be so sure Russia hacked the Clinton emails (November 2, 2016), Reuters
  127. Donald Trump Likely to End Aid for Rebels Fighting Syrian Government
  128. Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad The New York Times 19 July 2017
  129. Levitz, Eric, "Donald Trump Plans to ‘Pare Back’ Top U.S. Spy Agency", New York magazine (1/4/17 at 6:41 p.m.).
  130. 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).
  131. Andrew Osborne and Christian Lowe, "Russia revels in Trump victory, looks to sanctions relief", Reuters (11/9/16 at 3:54pm EST).
  132. Russians disheartened by Trump as his love affair with Putin fizzles USA Today 3 March 2017
  133. Kludt, Tom, "Pat Buchanan Thinks God Is On Putin's Side", TPM (4/4/14 at 11:38 AM EDT).
  134. Pro-America.
  135. When the right loved Vladimir Putin, Salon
  136. Make Putin President! (and the inevitable Daily Show smackdown.)
  137. "Fats" Vladimir sings "Blueberry Hill"
  138. And creates hilariously awful propaganda campaigns in the process.
  139. Did the Lomo camera save film photography?, BBC
  140. [, NBC News
  141. Crimea move makes Sochi look like $50 billion in wasted PR for Russia, Sunday Morning Herald
  142. Russian Police Choir Covers Daft Punk's "Get Lucky"
  143. See the Wikipedia article on Icarus (2017 film).
  144. This Is Why Putin Is Targeting Three DHS Agents. Russia's president is obsessed with the U.S. investigation into hundreds of millions in ill-gotten gains that have benefited his cronies—and very possibly him as well. by Michael Weiss (08.14.18 5:05 AM ET) The Daily Beast.