Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Putin and Putinism

Putin and Putinism

Putin as a person and as a politician and his political system of "Putinism"

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08/08/14 19:49 from Putin and Putinism - News Review

Putin and Putinism

Richard Cohen: One can be the deadliest number

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This is the way Simon Kuper began his Financial Times piece on what happened in Sarajevo 100 years ago on June 28, the beginning of World War I. The article is about many things, the city of Sarajevo, the doomed archduke and his morganatic bride, Sophie — virtually shunned at court on account of her low rank — but most of all Princip, the Serb nationalist, who started the conflagration with a mere pistol. There were many causes of that war — an entire bookshelf’s worth in my office alone — but the fact remains that if Princip had hesitated, if he had missed, if he had not wandered to seek a sandwich at Moritz Schiller’s delicatessen when Franz Ferdinand’s driver had taken the wrong turn, the Great War might not have happened.
And neither would have the swift collapse of four empires, the arbitrary creation of the modern Middle East, Germany’s hyperinflation, the rise of fascism, Hitler and, of course, World War II, the Holocaust, Soviet expansionism, the Cold War and so much more. The very first domino was toppled by a single man, a tubercular who was to die before the war he started had ended. The lone assassin had changed history.
He had struck before and many times since. He killed Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and William McKinley, John F. Kennedy and his younger brother Robert, Yitzhak Rabin (and the chance for an Arab- Israeli peace), Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi. One man, one weapon, and history pivoted.
This is why the study of Vladimir Putin is so important. Russian nationalism is an indigenous force, and Russian grievance is somewhat the same. But another leader may not have fanned either one. A non-Putin, in fact, may not have felt either emotion so intensely. Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and now the prime minister, probably would not have seized Crimea. Nothing about him suggests otherwise. He is no Putin.
But Putin is. The tautology has become plain. The reformer has become the uber nationalist and expansionist. He has an edge to him, a menace. He plays a losing hand, but he plays it well because while he is weak, his opponents are weaker. They vacillate. They dillydally. They fear confrontation. In fact, they abhor it. Putin knows what he wants. He will take what the West allows.
We hear now from observers of Putin, people who knew him over the years. We search for clues to his character, his tics, his weaknesses. The accounts are not encouraging. We learn he can lie. We learn he can be inscrutable. We find nothing about heavy drinking, rampant womanizing — excesses, addictions, vile bigotries. He is a good student. Strobe Talbott, a deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration, wrote in The Post about meeting Putin in Moscow: “For no reason other than to show he had read my KGB dossier, he dropped the names of two Russian poets I had studied in college.” Impressive. I have heard similar stories about Putin. George Smiley is in the Kremlin now.
In 1943, the philosopher Sidney Hook published “The Hero in History.” Hook was a former communist moving at warp speed toward what we now would call neoconservatism. His book was a riposte to determinism; Nikita Khrushchev embodied it in 1956 when he told Western ambassadors in Moscow, “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side.” (The American version of this is “the wrong side of history” formulation — as if history has a purpose or a conscience.) Hook knew better. Men are not merely swept away by movements, they create movements. Heroes matter. Great men matter. So do evil ones.
The 20th century settled the question of whether one man can alter history. Of course he can. Hitler did. Stalin did. Churchill put steel in Britain’s backbone, and Roosevelt saved the snarling American free-enterprise system by house-breaking it. Gavrilo Princip had his moment too. On a day almost 100 years ago, he got off two shots, swiftly killing two people and, before the century had ended, probably 100 million more.
Read more from Richard Cohen’s archive.

Putin Newsreel

New York Times
For 15 years, Vladimir V. Putin has confounded American presidents as they tried to figure him out, only to misjudge him time and again. He has defied their assumptions and rebuffed their efforts at friendship. He has argued with them, lectured them ...
New York Times
THE HAGUE — President Obama and the leaders of the biggest Western economies agreed on Monday to exclude President Vladimir V. Putin from the Group of 8, suspending his government's 15-year participation in the diplomatic forum and further isolating ...
The Atlantic
Ever since Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea, American pundits have strained to understand his view of the world. Putin's been called a Nazi; a tsar; a man detached from reality. But there's another, more familiar framework that explains his behavior.
New York Times
The decision by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to annex Crimea ended the post-Cold War era in Europe. Since the late Gorbachev-Reagan years, the era was defined by zigzags of cooperation and disputes between Russia and the West, but always ...
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Putinism NewsReel

Barack Obama is hitting Vladimir Putin where it hurts – his inner circle. New U.S. sanctions against a Russian bank and a host of tycoons are ostensibly just an escalated response to the annexation of Crimea. But they also allege a link between the ...
Kyiv Post
Jay Tkachuk: The demise of Putinism. Print version. March 21, 2014, 7:44 p.m. | Op-ed — by Jay Tkachuk. : Russia's President Vladimir Putin signs a law on ratification of a treaty making Crimea part of Russia, during a ceremony in the Kremlin in ...
The Progressive Pulse
This strange mutual admiration society has arguably reached new heights in recent weeks with the largely successful Sochi Olympic games in which Putin emerged stronger than ever and the rise of a new wave of Putinist anti-gay proposals in the U.S. and ...
The New Republic
An ad man who used to work for Mikhail Khodorkovsky in the go-go '90s, Surkov is the chief architect of Putinism. He reduced the elimination of democracy, civil society, and a free press to a handful of cynically named "technologies." (Given Russia's ...
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Putin - Google News

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    Political Opposition in Russia

    Russian human rights activists andopposition politicians have reacted sharply to a Moscow legislators' suggestion to ban all rallies and public protests in the city center. At the Wednesday session of the Moscow City Duma lawmaker Mikhail ...
    Ukraine's opposition has taken over power with Russia saying they can't be trusted, reported The Moscow Times on Feb. 24, 2014. Russian officials have warned that thepolitical opposition which has taken power in Ukraine is made up of "illegal ...
    “Anger at Putin hasn't boiled over yet inRussia,” said Dmitry Oreshkin, an independent political analyst with ties to theopposition. “For most Russians, especially outside of Moscow, Putin remains a legitimate president. Yanukovych was on much ...
    Indeed, the members of the G-7, one nation down as Russia has been removed, are all united in their opposition to Putin's push into Ukraine. In an interview with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published before Obama arrived Monday, Obama said that ...
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        Council on Foreign Relations on Russia

        Deutsche Welle
        This policy changed in 2010 with the pro-Russian presidency of Viktor Yanukovych. DW spoke to Stefan Meister of the EuropeanCouncil on Foreign Relations about relations between NATO and Russia. DW: How much has the enlargement of NATO ...
        Council on Foreign Relations
        Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions in response to the Ukraine crisis, including the seizure of territory of a neighboring state, serves as a "game changer" in internationalrelations with Russia, says Strobe Talbott, a former deputy Secretary ...
        Council on Foreign Relations
        The Presidents of Ukraine, RussianFederation and United States of America, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom signed three memorandums (UN Document A/49/765) on December 5, 1994, with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the ...The ...
        Council on Foreign Relations
        Meanwhile, the summit offers Obama the opportunity to maintain relations with foreignleaders: he is slated to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping on Monday, and on Tuesday with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean president Park Geun ...
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        "Confronting Putin’s Russia"-NYT

        [or The Portrait of one "Schizo-Oppositional-Pussy-Put" - M.N.]

        The Opinion Pages|OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

        Confronting Putin’s Russia

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