HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Putin began by embracing ...

Mon Aug 12, 2019, 08:28 AM

Putin began by embracing the west. Now, he wants revenge

There’s little hope of an improvement in relations so long as the Russian president’s 20-year reign continues

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/12/vladimir-putin-west-russian-president-20-years

When Boris Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin prime minister on 9 August 1999, few Russians knew much about him. In early television appearances he came across as mousy, shy and awkward, a man unaccustomed to the limelight from which his previous career in the KGB had shielded him.

But within weeks he revealed a character trait that would become the defining feature of his rule – ruthlessness. His first memorable phrase was his threat to wipe out terrorists “even if they’re in the shithouse”, and within weeks he had launched a terrifying war against separatists in Chechnya that would leave tens of thousands of civilians dead.

Twenty years on, as Russia and the west teeter towards confrontation, it is hard to remember that Putin started out as an avowedly pro-western leader. George W Bush and Tony Blair rushed to glad-hand him, and Putin himself stood in the Bundestag proclaiming at length and in fluent German that Russia’s destiny was in Europe. But western leaders were appalled by his brutality in Chechnya, and by the first signs of his antidemocratic tendencies, which included his muzzling of critical television stations.

Putin’s fatal flaw, it seemed to me, was his utter inability to see that there was a contradiction between being a ruthless autocrat at home, and the values of the western civilisation to which he (at least at that time) paid lip service. Some argue that he was never seriously pro-western, that the overtures masked ulterior motives and KGB-inspired schemes to dominate the world. But I think that is mistaken. When I worked as a consultant to the Kremlin in the earlier part of Putin’s rule, I had many meetings with senior officials and have no doubt that they regarded themselves as “western” and even as democrats.

snip



further down in the article it references a statement by President Obama, but gives no link, so here it is


Obama describes Putin as 'like a bored kid'

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-obama-idUSBRE9780XS20130809

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday denied he has poor relations with Vladimir Putin after canceling their Moscow talks, but said the Russian president can sometimes appear “like a bored kid in the back of the classroom.”

U.S.-Russian relations plunged to one of their lowest points since the Cold War this week after Russia granted temporary asylum to fugitive former U.S. spy contractor Edward Snowden. Obama retaliated by abruptly canceling a Moscow summit with Putin planned for early next month.

At a White House news conference on Friday, Obama insisted that he does not have bad personal relations with Putin. The two men had a testy meeting in June in Northern Ireland and from the photos of them at the time, it looked as if they would both rather have been somewhere else.

“I know the press likes to focus on body language, and he’s got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom. But the truth is that when we’re in conversations together, oftentimes it’s very productive,” Obama said.

snip

0 replies, 360 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread