Mr. Putin

Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin

Fiona Hill
Clifford G. Gaddy
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 390
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt4cg8c5
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    Mr. Putin
    Book Description:

    Who is Vladimir Putin? Observers have described him as a "man from nowhere"-someone without a face, substance, or soul. Russia experts Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy argue that 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.

    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?

    "For more than a dozen years-the equivalent of three American presidential terms- Vladimir Putin has presided over the largest nation on the planet, the second most powerful nuclear arsenal, and massive natural resources. Yet there is still debate about who he really is. Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy have gone a long way in answering that question, starting with the title, which makes a crucial point: even though 'Mr. Putin' was, in his upbringing and early career, a prototype of the Soviet man, he's no longer 'Comrade Putin.' His aim is not the restoration of communism. He has made a deal with the capitalists who have thrived in Russia over the past two decades: they support him in the exercise of his political power, and he supports them in amassing their fortunes."-from the foreword by Strobe Talbott

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2377-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-xvi)
    Strobe Talbott

    FOR MORE THAN a dozen years—the equivalent of three American presidential terms—Vladimir Putin has presided over the largest nation on the planet, the second most powerful nuclear arsenal, and massive natural resources. Yet there is still debate about who he really is. Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy have gone a long way in answering that question, starting with the title, which makes a crucial point: even though “Mr. Putin” was, in his upbringing and early career, a prototype of the Soviet man, he’s no longer “Comrade Putin.” His aim is not the restoration of communism. He has made...

  4. CHAPTER ONE WHO IS MR. PUTIN?
    (pp. 1-15)

    WHO IS MR. PUTIN? This question has never been fully answered. Vladimir Putin has been Russia’s dominant political figure for more than a dozen years since he first became prime minister and then president in 1999–2000. But in the years Putin has been in power we have seen almost no additional information provided about his background beyond what is available in early biographies. These relate that Vladimir Putin was born in the Soviet city of Leningrad in October 1952 and was his parents’ only surviving child. Putin’s childhood was spent in Leningrad, where his youthful pursuits included training first...

  5. CHAPTER TWO BORIS YELTSIN AND THE TIME OF TROUBLES
    (pp. 16-33)

    SOME COMMENTATORS HAVE depicted the story of how Mr. Putin came to be prime minster and then president of Russia as something akin to a tragedy that ruptured what appeared to be a generally positive trajectory of post-Soviet Russia in the 1990s toward the development of a more pluralistic democratic state and market economy. Vladimir Putin views the trajectory of 1990s in a very different way. For him, the Russian state was in a downward spiral. His elevation to the presidency at the end of 1999 was the logical culmination of, as well as the response to, a series of...

  6. CHAPTER THREE THE STATIST
    (pp. 34-62)

    WHEN PUTIN ARRIVED in Moscow in August 1996, few in Russian elite circles had any illusions about the depth of the state’s domestic crisis and the loss of its previous great power status internationally. Many internal observers feared Russia was in danger of total collapse. They bristled at Western commentators constantly regurgitating a description of the country during the late Soviet period as “Upper Volta with missiles.”¹ Russian politics was focused on preserving what was left and avoiding further humiliations. Practically every political group and party across the Russian political spectrum, from right to left, felt that the post-Soviet dismantling...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR THE HISTORY MAN
    (pp. 63-77)

    PUTIN’S FORAYS INTO the debates over the Russian Idea underscore the second set of central elements to Putin’s persona—his firm conviction that his personal destiny is intertwined with that of the Russian state and its past.¹ Vladimir Putin is a self-designated student of history. He claims it was his favorite subject in school, and he remains an avid reader today. He also presents himself as man of history with a special relationship to the subject. Throughout his time in office, Putin has actively deployed his own and his team’s interpretations of Russian history to reinforce policy positions and frame...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE THE SURVIVALIST
    (pp. 78-112)

    HISTORY FOR PUTIN is very personal and immediate as well as a source of material for his own political use. More significant than the Putin family’s deep roots in Ryazan province is the fact that Vladimir Putin is the child of survivors of one of the blackest periods in Russian history during the Second World War. This personal history of survival is the third element in providing the context for Putin’s worldview. It has multiple dimensions and has produced a series of clearly identifiable personal and policy responses.

    In World War II, Putin’s father, also called Vladimir, served in a...

  9. CHAPTER SIX THE OUTSIDER
    (pp. 113-142)

    IN 1996, VLADIMIR PUTIN and a group of friends and acquaintances from St. Petersburg would gather in an idyllic lakeside setting—barely an hour and a half north of the metropolis of St. Petersburg. The location, on the Karelian Isthmus between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga, was only an hour and 20 minute car drive to the Finnish border, in an area that has variously been part of the Swedish Empire, the tsarist Russian empire, independent Finland, the Soviet Union, and now Russia. This was a wonderful place for Mr. Putin the History Man to reflect on the...

  10. CHAPTER SEVEN THE FREE MARKETEER
    (pp. 143-166)

    PUTIN SEEMS TO have gained some grounding in general economic issues during the 1970s and 1980s. As a student at Leningrad State University (LGU) in the 1970s, studying under Anatoly Sobchak, Putin wrote an undergraduate thesis on international trade law. In the 1980s, at the KGB’s Red Banner Institute, American business school textbooks were likely on the curriculum, and Yury Andropov had put reforming the Soviet economic system as one of the top items on the KGB’s agenda. In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), as he made clear in his April 2012 remarks to the Russian Duma, Putin had been...

  11. CHAPTER EIGHT THE CASE OFFICER
    (pp. 167-209)

    VLADIMIR PUTIN MANAGED to keep a remarkably low public profile during his time as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. But this was nothing compared to his obscurity during his first few years in Moscow. Mr. Putin was, as the clichés have it, a nobody when he arrived in Moscow in August 1996. Other than the man who seemed directly responsible for recommending him for a job in the capital, his St. Petersburg colleague Alexei Kudrin, Putin apparently had no solid contacts there. Only three years later, he was tapped to be Boris Yeltsin’s successor as president of the Russian Federation....

  12. CHAPTER NINE THE SYSTEM
    (pp. 210-249)

    PUTIN’S JULY 2000 televised meeting with the oligarchs, which laid out the terms of his deal with them, is emblematic of his style and system of governance. All the evidence from Putin’s words and actions since 1999–2000, when he first moved from the shadows into the position of prime minister and then acting president, indicates that there is nothing contrived or secret about his goals and his policies. Putin’s practice has been to state them directly. On the other hand, there has been a significant discrepancy between the transparency of Putin’s goals and the nontransparency of the means by...

  13. CHAPTER TEN CONCLUSION: THE STAKEHOLDERS’ REVOLT
    (pp. 250-274)

    “DON’T GO PLANNING my funeral quite yet!” Mr. Putin interjected when one of us asked how he wanted his legacy to be viewed once he was no longer leader of Russia. On that occasion—at the Valdai Discussion Club dinner outside Moscow in November 2011—his response was meant to be a joke. But more than one guest around the table thought it interesting that Putin so instinctively seemed to assume that only his own personal demise could bring an end to his rule.

    Within just a few weeks of the dinner, discussion of the possible end of Putin’s rule...

  14. CHRONOLOGY
    (pp. 275-284)
  15. NOTES ON TRANSLATION, TRANSLITERATION, NOMENCLATURE, STYLE, AND SOURCES
    (pp. 285-290)
  16. ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
    (pp. 291-293)
  17. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 294-300)
  18. NOTES
    (pp. 301-362)
  19. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 363-378)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 379-390)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 391-392)