Who is Vladimir Putin? In Mr. Putin, Russia experts Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy argue that Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, is in fact a man of many and complex identities. Drawing on a range of sources, including their own personal encounters, they describe six that are most essential: the Statist, the History Man, the Survivalist, the Outsider, the Free Marketeer, and the Case Officer. Understanding Putin’s multiple dimensions is crucial for policymakers trying to decide how best to deal with Russia.
Who is Mr. Putin?
«… some observers say that Vladimir Putin has no face, no substance, no soul. He is a “man from nowhere,” who can appear to be anybody to anyone. Indeed, as president and prime minister, Mr. Putin has turned himself into the ultimate political performance artist. Over the last several years, his public relations team has pushed his image in multiple directions, pitching him as everything from big game hunter and conservationist to scuba diver to biker—even nightclub crooner.»… read more.
In their new book, Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy take a closer look at Russian president Vladimir Putin’s governing style through the lenses of several distinct identities. In this first of five video blog posts, Hill and Gaddy examine Putin as «statist», appointed to serve the Russian state and restore its greatness.
Hill and Gaddy trace the identities back to formative experiences in Putin’s past, including his early life in Soviet Leningrad, his KGB training and responsibilities, his years as deputy mayor in the crime and corruptionridden city of St. Petersburg, his first role in Moscow as the “operative” brought in from the outside by liberal reformers in the Kremlin to help control Russia’s oligarchs, and his time at the helm of a resurgent Russian state. The authors then examine the nature of the political system Putin has built, explaining it as a logical result of these six identities.
Vladimir Putin has his own idealized view of himself as CEO of «Russia, Inc.» But rather than leading a transparent public corporation, he runs a closed boardroom, not answerable to its stakeholders. Now that his corporation seems to be in crisis, with political protests marking Mr. Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, will the CEO be held accountable for its failings?
On February 6, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings will host an event for the launch of Mr. Putin with a discussion featuring the authors. (Published on Feb 1, 2014) Learn more: http://goo.gl/Ivc7i