Mr. Putin

Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin

Fiona Hill
Clifford G. Gaddy
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 533
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt7zsvpb
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  • Book Info
    Mr. Putin
    Book Description:

    From the KGB to the Kremlin: a multidimensional portrait of the man at war with the West.Where do Vladimir Putin's ideas come from? How does he look at the outside world? What does he want, and how far is he willing to go?

    The great lesson of the outbreak of World War I in 1914 was the danger of misreading the statements, actions, and intentions of the adversary. Today, Vladimir Putin has become the greatest challenge to European security and the global world order in decades. Russia's 8,000 nuclear weapons underscore the huge risks of not understanding who Putin is. Featuring five new chapters, this new edition dispels potentially dangerous misconceptions about Putin and offers a clear-eyed look at his objectives. It presents Putin as a reflection of deeply ingrained Russian ways of thinking as well as his unique personal background and experience.

    Praise for the first edition

    If you want to begin to understand Russia today, read this book. -Sir John Scarlett, former chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)

    For anyone wishing to understand Russia's evolution since the breakup of the Soviet Union and its trajectory since then, the book you hold in your hand is an essential guide.-John McLaughlin, former deputy director of U.S. Central Intelligence

    Of the many biographies of Vladimir Putin that have appeared in recent years, this one is the most useful. -Foreign Affairs

    This is not just another Putin biography. It is a psychological portrait. -The Financial Times

    Q: Do you have time to read books? If so, which ones would you recommend? "My goodness, let's see. There's Mr. Putin, by Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy. Insightful." -Vice President Joseph Biden in Joe Biden: The Rolling Stone Interview.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2618-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. PART I. THE OPERATIVE EMERGES

    • CHAPTER ONE WHO IS MR. PUTIN?
      (pp. 3-21)

      ON MARCH 18, 2014, still bathed in the afterglow of the Winter Olympics that he had hosted in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russian president Vladimir Putin stepped up to a podium in the Kremlin to address the nation. Before an assembly of Russian officials and parliamentarians, Putin signed the documents officially reuniting the Russian Federation and the peninsular republic of Crimea, the home base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Crimea had seceded from Ukraine only two days earlier, on March 16. The Russian president gave what was intended to be a historic speech. The events were fresh, but...

    • CHAPTER TWO BORIS YELTSIN AND THE TIME OF TROUBLES
      (pp. 22-37)

      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...

    • CHAPTER THREE THE STATIST
      (pp. 38-62)

      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 of...

    • CHAPTER FOUR THE HISTORY MAN
      (pp. 63-75)

      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...

    • CHAPTER FIVE THE SURVIVALIST
      (pp. 76-105)

      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...

    • CHAPTER SIX THE OUTSIDER
      (pp. 106-131)

      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...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN THE FREE MARKETEER
      (pp. 132-152)

      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...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT THE CASE OFFICER
      (pp. 153-189)

      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....

    • CHAPTER NINE THE SYSTEM
      (pp. 190-224)

      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...

  5. PART II. THE OPERATIVE ENGAGES

    • CHAPTER TEN THE STAKEHOLDERS’ REVOLT
      (pp. 227-259)

      “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 Vladimir 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...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN PUTIN’S WORLD
      (pp. 260-284)

      TRAPP ED IN THE KREMLIN BUBBLE, Putin initially missed what was happening around him in Russia in 2011–12. He made a miscalculation about the popular mood in Moscow and other cities. He ultimately recognized that the stakeholders’ revolt had domestic roots; but in trying to understand how it had developed and figuring out how to tackle it, he filtered the revolt through his own particular prism. In Putin’s assessment, the opposition movement was encouraged and then exploited by the West—both by the United States and Europe. When he accused foreign funders of paying protesters, he meant it.¹ As...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE THE AMERICAN EDUCATION OF MR. PUTIN
      (pp. 285-311)

      BECAUSE OF HIS KGB HISTORY, Vladimir Putin is typically accused in U.S. media of still harboring an anti-American, Cold War view of the United States, and of blaming the United States for undermining and bringing down the Soviet Union. In fact, there is little evidence of any anti-American view in the early phases of Putin’s public life. In the 1990s, when Putin was in the company of Anatoly Sobchak and the St. Petersburg reformers like Alexei Kudrin and Anatoly Chubais, who later brought him to work in the Kremlin, his positions were mainstream. He did not accuse the United States...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN RUSSIA RESURGENT
      (pp. 312-341)

      VLADIMIR PUTIN DISPLAYED NO BOLD ambitions for a Russian foreign policy program at the beginning of his presidency. Foreign policy was conspicuously absent from the December 1999 Millennium Message. It was discussed only tangentially in his 2000 presidential campaign biography,Ot pervogo litsa.The general thrust of Putin’s statements in both the message and the book was that Russia’s problems were the result of “Russians’ own doing.” Russians must solve the problems themselves, and get their house in order. If Russians did not get their house in order, as Putin stated in the Millennium Message, they risked being relegated to...

    • CHAPTER FOURTEEN THE OPERATIVE ABROAD
      (pp. 342-382)

      WITH HIS NEW TEAM OF Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov leading the Russian military, and unitary command in place, Putin was preparing Russia to engage in the new form of twenty-first-century warfare. Wars would be fought everywhere and with every means at a state’s disposal. In a war that was everywhere, Putin had to be able to mobilize the population at home behind his decisions and actions. The Russian people, along with the Russian military, all sectors of the Russian economy, and the Russian state apparatus would have to prepare for contingencies, just as Putin the Survivalist did. Even the...

  6. CODA THE OPERATIVE IN ACTION
    (pp. 385-398)

    WE HAVE TRIED TO ANSWER the question of who is Mr. Putin and what motivates him to do what he does. Here, in this coda, we put this understanding and these insights to the test. Based on what we have written, we consider what lessons we have learned and what advice we might offer on how to deal with him. The 2014 conflict between Russia and the West over Ukraine convinced us that some observers of the crisis have several, potentially very dangerous, misconceptions about Putin. These fall into the category of underestimating him in a couple of important respects,...

  7. CHRONOLOGY
    (pp. 399-406)
  8. NOTES ON TRANSLATION, TRANSLITERATION, NOMENCLATURE, STYLE, AND SOURCES
    (pp. 407-412)
  9. ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
    (pp. 413-416)
  10. NOTES
    (pp. 417-502)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 503-518)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 519-533)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 534-534)