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Vladimir Putin

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Always watching.
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at the water's edge

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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'?
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 effective dictator of Russia. The longest running Russian leader since Joseph Stalin, he alternates between President (2000-2008, 2012-onward) and Prime Minister (1999-2000, 2008-2012) whenever convenient. Terms were extended from four to six years in 2008 starting from next election, meaning he can legally serve until 2024[6]. He presides over a nominally democratic nation which is marked by a lot of backdoor deals with criminal syndicates.

His rhetoric and governing style have earned him a neologism called Putinism.Wikipedia's W.svg After the turmoil of the Yeltsin years, Putin hankers back to something more similar to the Brezhnev days, where Russia did what was best for Russia and flipped the bird at the west while doing it. For Russians who endured the emasculation of the 90s, 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.[7]

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 neo-Stalinists).[8][9]

Reality-defying good stuff?[edit]

You can be a three-headed tyrant as long as everyone has jobs and is working.
—Jack Ablin[10]

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 a 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%?[11] Russia achieved this primarily by boosting GDP, making the national debt a smaller fraction of a larger GDP.[12]

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,[13][14] 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's W.svg 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's W.svg). 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's W.svg with Russia.

Putin 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 in 2013, if for no other reason than to stick it to Washington.

Putin accrues another bonus simply by not being Boris Yeltsin.

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[15]

Resource economy[edit]

Russia has been in a recession since 2014.[16] Their economy is still too dependent upon oil:[17] 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.[18] But he's definitely "eating Obama's lunch."[19] 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.[20] By fur coats he means all that arctic oil which will be open for exploration by the state enterprises he and his friends control.[21]

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.[22][23][24] 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[25] There is no climate change[26] it will be good for some regions.[27] Soon we'll feed everyone with food grown in the temperate and hospitable Siberia. Problem is, Siberia has no groundwater,[28] and is far too arid to support agriculture on a relevant scale.[29] 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. [30]

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 (until it became his propaganda arm), the instigation of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine that culminated in the accidental downing of a civilian aircraft[31], the bombing of aid convoys,[32] the slew of Kremlin opponents dropping dead from polonium poisoning,[33][34] Russian soldiers taking long "vacations",[35] and the suppression and abuse of protestors.[36][37] Only in 2017 could you be arrested for protesting a ban on protests.

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

In 2012, he banned gay pride parades and protests in Moscow for 100 years,[38] along with a variety of other draconic restrictions on homosexual rights, doubtlessly as a way to court the fundamentalist vote.[39] Shortly after, he continued to uphold the traditional family by getting divorced.[40] 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.[41]

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

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[42]

In 1999, there was a disgusting terror attack in which the FSB allegedly bombed buildings (with people sleeping in them) to provide pretext for another war with Chechnya. The attacks boosted Putin's popularity and delivered him the presidency.[43] That case is still open, but activists, investigators, lawyers, politicians, journalists have been dropping like flies around him for for years and no one ever bats an eye, it seems.[44][45]

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, 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. [46] The new measures include massive restrictions on privacy, speech, freedom of conscience, and religious expression. [47] Even then, some parts of it are just unenforceable - It demands phone and internet providers keeping all data for 3 years, and every major Russian telecom company has declared that impossible.

What happens after him?[edit]

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. 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 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. [48] [49]

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. [50] [51] [52]

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[53]
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?[54][55]

Putin has said that Stalin's legacy can't be judged in black and white.[56] As such, Putin's policies have been likened to the Soviet era, which has received a lukewarm response by Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov.[57][58] 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,[59][60] leading some commentators to wonder if Putin had finally lost his marbles.[61]

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[62]. (More importantly, Ukraine was making noises about joining NATO.[63] 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[64]); 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's W.svg. 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.[65][66]

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.[67]

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.[68] The lack of a real oligarchy became apparent when Mikhail Khodorkovsky was imprisoned and later exiled for annoying the boss.[69]

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.[70]

Putin has given official state support for innovation and has said Russia can build a vibrant and diversified economy through technical and scientific prowess.[71] 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.[71] The controversial arrest of physicist Dmitri Trubitsyn caused outrage among scientists in Russia, who viewed it as contradictory to Russia's stated economic aims.[71] According to Russian writer Alfred KochWikipedia's W.svg, 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.[72]

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.[73] He has also described the internet as a "CIA project".[74] 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.[75]

Recently, he has condemned Bitcoin and called for Russia to impose a ban on digital currencies.[76]

Pussy Riot[edit]

Some of the grrls.

Pussy Riot is a stupid name Russian all-girl 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.[77] According to reports, one member was hospitalised because of illnesses she contracted as a result of prison work.[78] 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 were promptly booted from the band because they had joined the Judean People's Front abandoned the group's original political values.[79]

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[80]

Putin is popular with certain elements of the left,[81] 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.[82][83] Putin, a literal Judo master (or perhaps not[84]), 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,[85] Farage,[86] or Strache) and left-wingers (like Alexis Tsipras, Bernd Riexinger, George Galloway and Katja Kipping) to persons close to the Russian government.[87]

2016 US election interference[edit]

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[88]

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.[89][90][91] Trump publicly ordered Russia to deliver the goods on Clinton, which they did.[92] He continues to praise Russia and belittle his own nation to the news media.[93] 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.)[94] Now it appears he was not only coordinating with the Kremlin through his network and violating the Logan Act,[95] 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.[96][97][98][99][100] 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.[101][102] 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's W.svg 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".[103]

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.[104] Six months after taking office, the program ended, largely due to its failure to achieve the desired result of toppling the Syrian government.[105] Trump is even talking about reducing the power of American intelligence agencies specifically because they have information about Russia that Russia says is false.[106] He's already trashed the FBI's credibility and valued apolitical position.[107]

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.[108]

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 (apparently they learned nothing from the Iraq blunder, and Iraq didn't have nukes). [109]

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. [110]

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[111]

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.[112] It's not just them; Patrick Buchanan and Fox News talking heads have also expressed an odd admiration for his style of leadership.[113][114]

And now for something completely different[edit]

Known for an alarmingly higher-pitched voice than his face indicates,[115] 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.[116] 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."[117]

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.[118]

Putin also holds the Guinness World Record for holding the most expensive (and weirdest) Olympic Games ever.[119][120] 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[121]

See also[edit]

  • Nashi
  • Vladimir Zhirinovsky
  • 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.
  • 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 counties in rewind mode.
  • 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, 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.
  • Denial of Soviet occupation

Videos[edit]

External links[edit]

References[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's W.svg
  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. Behind the Scenes in Putin's Court: The Private Habits of a Latter-Day Dictator, Newsweek
  8. 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.
  9. Bennetts and Alexander, "Vladimir Putin’s Red Scare? Inside Russia’s Resurgent Communist Party", Newsweek via Reuters (7/31/16 at 9:00 AM).
  10. Will Putin run for his money?, Toronto Star
  11. Ruskie Wikipedia
  12. Russia Government Debt to GDP, Investopedia
  13. Overview of the Economic Survey of the Russian Federation, OECD
  14. Makhatadze, Ekaterine (2014-05-30). "Russia's impact on the European Union's energy security". Academia.edu. p. 5. https://www.academia.edu/7235924/Russias_impact_on_the_European_Unions_energy_security. "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.
  15. "Vladimir Putin Op/Ed"
  16. Russia GDP Growth Rate 1995-2017, Trading Economics.
  17. "Crude Oil Price Forecast: Long Term 2016 to 2025", knoema.
  18. "Russia GDP Growth Forecast 2015-2020 and up to 2060, Data and Charts - G20 Economic Forecast, knoema.
  19. Trump: Putin has "eaten Obama's lunch", Today 12.31.16.
  20. 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.
  21. Cheng, Selia, "Putin went to the Arctic to strengthen Russia’s foothold in the region with his own two feet", Quartz 31 March 2017.
  22. Framer, Andrew E., "Russia, Crippled by Drought, Bans Grain Exports", NYT 5 August 2016. There's a reason Russia's had so many famines.
  23. "NASA Spots Fires and Smoke from Eastern Russia Wildfires", NASA 12 August 2016.
  24. "Record heat and abnormal flooding as Siberia gets freak weather", Siberian Times 4 July 2016.
  25. Nick Paton Walsh and Paul Brown, [https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/sep/30/sciencenews.environment "EU alarmed as Putin backtracks on Kyoto", Guardian (30 September 2003, 5.40 EDT).
  26. Kuzmin, Audrey, "Russian media take climate cue from skeptical Putin", Reuters (29 Oct 2015, 7:52am EDT).
  27. 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).
  28. Killalea, Debra "Siberia crater ‘Gateway to the Underworld’: Melting permafrost a huge problem for the planet", ABC (8 Junes 2016, 7:51am).
  29. Flintoff, Corey, "For Russian Farmers, Climate Change Is Nyet So Great", NPR (21 February 2016, 12:11 PM ET).
  30. CIA World Fact Book " CIA World Fact Book: Birth Rates 2017
  31. Somini Sengupta and Andrew E. Kramer, "Dutch Inquiry Links Russia to 298 Deaths in Explosion of Jetliner Over Ukraine", NYT 9.28.16.
  32. 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!
  33. President Putin 'probably' approved Litvinenko murder
  34. Kramer, Andrew E., "More of Kremlin’s Opponents Are Ending Up Dead", NYT 8.20.16.
  35. McCoy, Terrence, "Russians troops fighting in Ukraine? Naw. They’re just on ‘vacation.’", WaPo 8.28.14.
  36. Herszenhorn, David M., "New Russian Law Assesses Heavy Fines on Protesters", NYT 6.8.12.
  37. Bennetts, Mark, "Torture and Abuse by Police Is the Norm in Russian Prisons", Newsweek (3/29/16 at 6:31 AM).
  38. Gay parades banned in Moscow for 100 years, BBC
  39. Homophobe of the Year: Vladimir Putin, The Advocate
  40. Russia's Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmila divorce, BBC
  41. A coincidence. Really.
  42. Remnick, David, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/11/watching-eclipse "Watching the Eclipse"], New Yorker August 2014.
  43. Tyler, Patrick E., "Russian Says Kremlin Faked 'Terror Attacks'", NYT 1 February 2002.
  44. Filipov, David, "Here are 10 critics of Vladimir Putin who died violently or in suspicious ways", WaPo 23 March 2017.
  45. "Russian Lawyer Injured in Mysterious Fall Before Court Appearance", Snopes 22 March 2017.
  46. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-russias-new-anti-extremism-law-affects-mormon-missionaries_us_5784188de4b0e05f05232c97
  47. https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/06/23/draconian-law-rammed-through-russian-parliament
  48. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/09/opinion/what-russia-after-putin.html
  49. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-13/a-fallen-russia-oligarch-sends-warning-to-rest-of-putin-insiders
  50. https://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/08/24/putins-great-purge
  51. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/18/vladimir-putin-purge-kremlin-russia-elections
  52. http://www.newsweek.com/putin-purge-puts-kremlin-elites-notice-493512
  53. Interview with German television channel ARD and ZDF, May 2005. [1]
  54. Salopek, Paul, "Vladimir Putin’s Mysterious Moving Border", Politico 4.3.16.
  55. Ragozin, Leonid, "How to Make California Great: Secede, With a Little Help From Putin", Bloomberg (12/7/16 at 5:00 AM PST).
  56. This is who we're dealing with.
  57. Kremlin has plan B for poll run-off, Financial Times
  58. "Political Report of the CPRF Central Committee to the 13th Party Congress"
  59. The end of the Putin mystique, Washington Post
  60. Trapped in His Own Labyrinth: Putin, Ukraine, and MH17, Bloomberg Businessweek
  61. Ioffe, Julia, "Putin's Press Conference Proved Merkel Right: He's Nuts", New Republic 3.4.14.
  62. Krisztina Than and Michael Kahn, "Pipeline politics: new gas route revives Russian rivalry with West", Reuters (2/24/15 at 3:52pm EST).
  63. "Stealing Their Dream", Economist 11.30.13.
  64. Vladimir Putin is not ready to toast Brexit
  65. Meyer, Henry, "Putin's Propaganda Machine Is Meddling With European Elections", Bloomberg (April 19, 2016 — 7:00 PM PDT).
  66. 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?>
  67. "Botox trends on Twitter amid Vladimir Putin surgery rumours", Telegraph.
  68. Putin's net-worth is $200 billion says Russia's once largest foreigner investor
  69. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12082222
  70. Henni, Adrien. Putin: Tech should not be demonized, but it is ‘an objective threat’ to businesses VentureBeat. November 25, 2016
  71. 71.0 71.1 71.2 Russia Wants Innovation, but It's Arresting Its Innovators The New York Times
  72. Alfred Koch: Putin’s rejection of science and fear of the educated destroying Russia’s future Euromaidan Press
  73. Orlova, Karina. Inside Putin’s Echo Chamber The American Interest. June 26, 2017
  74. MacAskill, Ewen. Putin calls internet a 'CIA project' renewing fears of web breakup The Guardian UK. April 24, 2014
  75. Shuster, Simon. Putin’s Fear of Texting Kept U.S. Spymasters in the Dark TIME. March 24, 2014
  76. Dinkins, David. Putin Condemns Bitcoin, Calls for Russian Ban of Digital Currencies Cointelgraph.com. October 10, 2017
  77. BBC news, "Pussy Riot members jailed for two years for hooliganism", 17 August 2012.
  78. Alternet, "Is the Russia Prison System Working Pussy Riot Member to Death?", 1 February 2013
  79. "Russia's Pussy Riot disowns freed pair", 6 February 2014
  80. Mandel, "The Vladimir Putin Fan Club", Commentary 5.1.14.
  81. Russia and the European Far Left
  82. Michel, Casey, "How Putin Played the Far-left", Daily Beast (01.12.17 10:15 PM E).
  83. 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).
  84. Is Vladimir Putin a judo fraud? by Derek Hawkins (July 18, 2017 at 6:00 AM) The Washington Post.
  85. Nascimbeni, Francois, "Russia funds French National Front: is Moscow sowing European unrest?", The Week 11.5.15.
  86. Morris, Nigel, "Nigel Farage: Vladimir Putin is the world leader I most admire", Independent 3.30.14.
  87. 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!
  88. Kovalev, "A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media", Medium 1.12.17.
  89. 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.
  90. David Filipov and Andrew Roth, "Moscow had contacts with Trump team during campaign, Russian diplomat says", WaPo (10/10/16 at 12:28 PM).
  91. Schreckinger, Ben, "Inside Trump's 'cyborg' Twitter army", Politico (09/30/16 at 05:06 AM EDT).
  92. Ashley Parker and David E. Sanger, "Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails" NYT 7.27.16.
  93. "Donald Trump says the U.S. gets 'no respect' from Vladimir Putin", WaPo 7.27.16.
  94. 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).
  95. 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).
  96. David E. Sanger and Charlie Savage, "U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections" NYT 10.7.16.
  97. 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).
  98. Timberg, Craig, "Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say", WaPo 11.24.16.
  99. Nakashima, Ellen, "Russian hackers targeted Arizona election system", WaPo 8.29.16.
  100. Rogin, Josh, "Trump allies, WikiLeaks and Russia are pushing a nonsensical conspiracy theory about the DNC hacks" WaPo 8.12.16.
  101. 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.
  102. Russian Intervention in American Election Was No One-Off by Scott Shane (January 6, 2017) New York Times.
  103. Commentary: Don't be so sure Russia hacked the Clinton emails (November 2, 2016), Reuters
  104. Donald Trump Likely to End Aid for Rebels Fighting Syrian Government
  105. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/world/middleeast/cia-arming-syrian-rebels.html?mcubz=0
  106. Levitz, Eric, "Donald Trump Plans to ‘Pare Back’ Top U.S. Spy Agency", New York magazine (1/4/17 at 6:41 p.m.).
  107. 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).
  108. Andrew Osborne and Christian Lowe, "Russia revels in Trump victory, looks to sanctions relief", Reuters (11/9/16 at 3:54pm EST).
  109. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/12/team-trump-watch-out-putin-we-ve-got-your-number.html
  110. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/03/03/russians-disillusioned-president-trump/98693256/
  111. Kludt, Tom, "Pat Buchanan Thinks God Is On Putin's Side", TPM (4/4/14 at 11:38 AM EDT).
  112. Pro-America.
  113. When the right loved Vladimir Putin, Salon
  114. Make Putin President! (and the inevitable Daily Show smackdown.)
  115. "Fats" Vladimir sings "Blueberry Hill"
  116. And creates hilariously awful propaganda campaigns in the process.
  117. Did the Lomo camera save film photography?, BBC
  118. Reality check on Russia's 'zombie ray gun' program, NBC News
  119. Crimea move makes Sochi look like $50 billion in wasted PR for Russia, Sunday Morning Herald
  120. Russian Police Choir Covers Daft Punk's "Get Lucky"
  121. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXoRdSTrR-4