Personal Life & Career
Putin was born in 1952 (69 years, anno 2022). His mother was a factory worker, his father was a conscript in the Russian Navy and his grandfather was the personal cook of Lenin and Stalin.
He was president of Russia from 1999 to 2008 and from 2012 until today. He was also Prime Minister from 1999 to 2000 under President Yeltsin and from 2008 to 2012 under President Medvedev.
KGB & FSB
Putin applied for a job at the KGB when he was 16 years old but was told that he was too young and he should study law to increase his chances to be recruited. Eventually, he was recruited by the KGB in 1975 after completing his Law studies.
Putin was sent to the KGB Dresden office (East Germany) where he officially had a low rank function dealing with press clippings, etc. However, people claim that this was a cover and that he was involved in clandestine military operations.
Putin walks in a very particular way. People say that this is the result of KGB training. They trained him to control the balancing of his right arm to be able to draw his gun faster while walking.
Why did the KGB proposed him for the role of Yeltsin’s prime minister? His loyalty. Many KGB agents based in Eastern Germany deflected to the West when the Berlin wall collapsed. Apparently, Putin was the only agent calling the KGB Moscow headquarters to receive new instructions while all his colleagues were deflecting.
Some people say that Putin asked a lump sum of € 10 million to the FSB for accepting the role of prime minister of Yeltsin.
Is Putin a puppet of the FSB (ex-KGB)? It may have been the case in his early career, but now Putin is running the show. Putin is nobody’s puppet which makes him a truly independent politician. Even US presidents do not have this privilege with the exception of Donald Trump who listens to nobody.
Putin is not a hardcore “anti-American”. In the contrary, he used to be pro-American in his early years as president. We all remember his interpretation of Blueberry Hill, a clear symbolic gesture towards the US that the Cold war was over!
Yeltsin’s main accomplishment was to get rid of the Communist party but he didn’t have enough time or motivation to get rid of the KGB. People believe that the KGB was the soul of the Communist party.
When he got to power, Yeltsin agreed with Ukraine to leave the Soviet Union; making an end to the Soviet Union and to the political career of Gorbachev (General Secretary USSR 1985–1991). Afterwards, Gorbachev had to deflect to the US where he became a Pizza Hut actor.
Yeltsin and his entourage were a bit corrupt. He took kickbacks and bribes for the renovation of the Kremlin for instance.
Yeltsin also created the Russian oligarchs. Oligarchs were a particular phenomena in the history of Russian politics.
Yeltsin launched the “loan for share” scheme where the oligarch gave money to Yeltsin in exchange of state-owned assets and companies.
The Oligarchs were the first steppingstone in the liberalisation of the Russian economy. It was far from perfect. At some points, 7 Yeltsin oligarchs owned 50 % of the Russian economy. The secret recipe were shady deals and corruption to privatise Soviet industrial assets and infrastructure.
Two Yeltsin oligarchs played an important role when it comes to Putin: Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Boris Berezovsky.
To the tricky question of how did the oligarchs made their “first” money, especially when private property was illegal during the Soviet Union, the answer is probably through criminal activities. In the case of Khodorkovsky it was probably through smuggling of personal computers, jeans and counterfeit alcohol. There may also have been “foreign” money involved, for instance Khodorkovsky’s Menatep bank was helped by the Bank of New York.
Yeltsin accepted the KGB candidate (Putin) for the office of prime minister in exchange of three conditions: he could keep the money that he had accumulated, immunity for himself and his family and allowing the oligarchs to continue their business.
Putin respected the deal with Yeltsin. However, he met with the oligarchs and added one condition to the Yeltsin deal: the oligarchs could continue their business but had to stay out of politics.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky who served as an economic adviser to the first government of Boris Yeltsin was the brightest of the Yeltsin oligarchs. He created the first Russian private bank (Menatep) in 1989 before going all in on the Siberian oilfields incorporated under Yukos.
Boris Berezovsky became a media mogul.
The divorce between Putin and the oligarchs started when Berezovsky tried to discredit and blame Putin for the Kursk submarine accident and when Khodorkovsky tried to sell the Siberian oil fields to American oil companies. Khodorkovsky started to criticise Putin on TV when Putin told him to stop the deal with the Americans. Putin perceived this as a breach to their deal of “staying out of politics”.
The Kursk submarine accident marks the end of the honeymoon between Putin, the Yeltsin oligarchs and the West.
Everyone seems to agree that president Medvedev was the puppet of Putin. Using Medvedev was a trick to circumnavigate the Russian constitution.
Shortly after being elected president, Medvedev made a very remarkable statement on Russian television. He claimed that when he became president, he received two things: a suitcase with the nuclear codes and a file containing the history of aliens and extra-terrestrial life on earth including the existence of a secret agency that managed their presence on earth. According to whistleblowers, the pentagon establishment refers to these individuals as “The Kids” due to their small size or young age.
Ukraine & Russian Gas
Currently, there’s a tension with Ukraine: it’s said that Putin wants to invade Ukraine.
It would be good for Putin to remember his history. USSR lost and US won the cold war. It was Ukraine that helped Russia decapitate the USSR. It was Ukraine that enabled Russia to become independent from the Soviet Union. In my eyes, there should some kind of moral obligation for Putin to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine because without Ukraine there would have never been a Putin.
On the other hand, Ukraine is not that innocent. Many Russian gas pipelines go through Ukraine and apparently Ukraine steals Russian gas from those pipelines.
US should allow Russia to terminate the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and allow its use to guarantee energy (gas) supply to Germany and Europe. Ukraine should also stop steeling gas from the Russian pipelines. In return, Putin should recognise the full sovereignty of Ukraine
Advocate of the Devil
Let me play the advocate of Putin. Accusations vs counter accusations.
Putin is a KGB agent and shouldn’t be president. George Bush Senior was director of the CIA (1976-77) and there are rumours that Obama may have been involved with the CIA. This practice is not new. It goes back to the Roman Empire. The Praetorian guard was initially in charge of protecting the Roman Emperors; afterwards the Emperors were recruited within the Praetorian guard.
Putin had 22 journalists killed. There are rumours that Bill Clinton had many people killed without a fair trial. People were tortured without having a fair trial at Guantanamo Bay.
Putin has been involved in destabilising his neighbour countries. Let us remember what US did in the Middle East and in Latin American.
Putin is enriching himself through “gas” money. Well, oil companies are one of the most important financial contributors in American politics.
Putin is using violence to break down opposition. President Macron and the French police used excessive violence against the Gillets Jaunes social movement. Spain used excessive violence to deal with the Catalonian separatists.
Putin and the FSB are accused of orchestrating and organising the bombing of apartment buildings in Moscow; a false flag operation to blame the Chechens and justify the invasion of Chechnya. Well, many people believe that the WTC towers did not collapse because of the plane impact but because of controlled demolitions using nano-thermite.
People can play a blame game but tell me which empire hasn’t got blood on its hands? Which empire can blame another empire for being immoral? Isn’t immorality inherently part of empires? I mean remember the British empire, Napoleon or the Third Reich.
We can point our finger at Putin and blame him for everything that’s wrong in Russia. However, I don’t think Putin is a malevolent person. He’s the product of his environment and it was the cold war context that made him who he is today. He grew up idolising the Soviet Union and today he’s trying to re-create the prestige of what the Soviet union once was.
Many people believe Putin is a mediocre politician who is not very smart. This is one of the most important misconception about him. Putin is a self made man and he’s probably the most important politician of the 21st century. He’s the best example of how “one person can change the world” because he’s singlehandedly revived the Cold War and transformed the geopolitical context.
Let us remember that the first years of Putin were good and he managed to avoid the collapse of Russia. Imagine if Russia had become a Banana republic where nuclear weapons ended up on the black market. We should be grateful to Putin for keeping his house in order.
Putin didn’t have an easy job. He had to deal with Yeltsin, the oligarchs, the Americans, the Russian maffia, the KGB, the Nomenclature and the Communist party, the Kids, western financial markets etc. To be honest with you, you need to be some kind of superman or Sheriff to deal with all these stakeholders. You need to be a mastermind.
However, Putin is failing when it comes to creating a real democracy with independent media and freedom of speech. But then again, he’s not the only one.
The primordial objective of politicians and politics should be to create prosperity for their citizens, but to be honest with you I’m not sure who was the last politician who did this successfully.
Putin and Joe Biden should put their ego aside and find a peaceful solution to solve the current crisis.
Putin just want to be recognised as “equal”; I think he wants to be recognised for what he is: a great leader and I think we should give it to him.
Putin has been too long in power but what do you expect him to do now? Start a career as a singer? I don’t think so.