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Alexei Mukhin

«Pharaoh», 2018,

Many people imagine their own Putin.

They talk with the President in absentia, and become seriously offended

when Putin does not conform to their vision of him…

 

Introduction

Vladimir Putin is a political idealist and a philosophical pragmatist, he believes in his messianic mission to restore Russia’s national sovereignty, which the country has impetuously been losing since the beginning of the 1990s; to restore it, for instance, within the framework of the Eurasian project, which is turning into an analogue of the European Union in the post-Soviet space.

Western leaders, with their thoughtless behavior in an effort to subordinate the Russian leadership at all costs, «to take him down a peg», put the entire Russia off into a mobilization regime, which had helped Stalin and his team to make the USSR one of the world leaders.

 

Chapter 1. RUSSIA AND THE USA - UNDERLYING REASONS FOR INTERACTION AT THE CURRENT STAGE

The USA’s messianic perception of reality, the ultimate goal and the attempts to change the course of history, its own and that of other countries, based on its own ideas about justice and values, the cultivation of great politicians – all these factors prevent Russia and the United States from remaining neutral to each other at least for a short time.

Putin took advantage of the circumstances, or rather, the mistakes of the two American presidents, and led the country out of the «deadly embrace» of the United States, in which it was held in the time of Boris Yeltsin and the G8, having restored its sovereignty as a status. The unprecedentedly high level of Putin’s support by the population in 2014-2017 and the continued loyalty of the elites under the conditions of the maximum pressure on him by Washington and Brussels evidence that.

As a result of that pressure, the supreme leader Putin, regardless of the post he has occupied the last 18 years (president or prime minister), has received at his disposal consolidated social groups ready to support him personally in the most difficult political and economic conditions.

 

Chapter 2. A PSYCHOLOGICAL PORTRAIT OF PUTIN: HOW HIS PAST IS RELATED TO HIS PRESENT

 The most important thing that happened to Putin for his being at the helm of the country, is that he found the strength to change – psychologically adapt himself to new challenges and threats. As a result, Putin is a man cast in a simple mould, who is hard to be influenced from outside and who has formed a system of values for himself.

The messianic traits easily combined in his mind with sensitivity to personal insults and fears for the safety of his family and friends. It was these feelings that together, most likely, did not allow him to completely abandon power even for a short period in 2008-2012 and forced to facilitate the election of a temporary ruler Dmitry Medvedev, who in turn confirmed Putin’s candidature for the post of Prime Minister.

An analysis of Putin’s activities in all leading positions suggests that he is inclined to solve problems primarily through negotiations and creation of a system of agreements. However, in force majeure circumstances, Putin is able not to look back at the noise around and act strictly to reach the goal.

The psychological and emotional state of President Putin can be called consistently stable. There are an insignificant number of topics that may cause him strong emotional stress today.

  

Chapter 3. RELATIONS AND INTERACTION WITH PEOPLE

The «near circle» segment includes people associated with Putin with their common past, those who enjoy his unconditional confidence. The segment «external environment» includes people with whom Putin has to interact for professional needs.

Decision-making in the «near circle» is certainly collegial. On the other hand, Putin often takes personal political responsibility for the outcome, as it happened with the Crimea and Syria. As a result, Putin has created and continues building a system of strategic management of the country’s politics and economydominant in nature, of course.

Putin is used to building relations for a long time, even ready to forgive his partners’ mistakes, but he will never forget the non-compliance with the agreements reached with him personally (in fact, it is the «Japanese style» of communication).

On the foreign policy track, the «human factor», soulful relations, personal attachment are important for Putin.

On the domestic political track, Putin has long stood «above the fray» of the pressure groups in the country and, at the same time, partly distanced himself from his entourage.

  

Chapter 4. PUTIN IS FROM THE 1990’S: THE SECRET OF POPULARITY

The main political credo of the «non-systemic» opposition is to shift the responsibility for all the negative events taking place in Russia to Putin and his near circle.

Putin’s secret is simple. For a large part of the population of the country that supports him, he saved Russia from a collapse stemming from the reforms initiated by Russian liberals in the 1990s. Since then, the liberal idea and its adherents are not only unpopular, but frankly hated by almost all social groups.

Putin was the first speaker from the «high tribune» to talk about the perniciousness of the collapse of the USSR; thereby he once again increased his popularity, especially in the regions of the country. The «Crimean consensus» finally finished off the opponents of the Russian president in the image sense and made Putin a legend.

 

Chapter 5. INFORMATION WAR AGAINST PUTIN

On the one hand, the USA managed to show that its political influence on the world arena and lobbying potential could reach even international sports institutions, which helped the United States initiating conflicts on the political plane. On the other hand, many will rather be impressed by the restrained style of Russia, which has been suffering from the West’s attacks in relation to international sporting events for more than a year. In this case, Russia acts as a party interested in distancing sports from politics.

Putin took very personally all these events and attacks against himself, and tried to respond to every attack: «I do not forget anything,» he said at the «Direct Line» on June 15, 2017.

 

Chapter 6. SYRIA: PUTIN’s IDEAL WAR

After Saddam Hussein (a court judgment of death by hanging) and Muammar Gaddafi (liquidated without trial and investigation) were killed, many leaders of sovereign countries ceased to feel safe and Putin tried to create an effective model to prevent «managed crises» in the Middle East and in North Africa. Various special operations in the territory of Syria became a response to his efforts and the efforts of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the region.

The cooperation between Russia and the Western countries represented by the so-called «broad coalition» within the Syrian campaign was very, very specific. In part, it bore a resemblance to the struggle against Hitlerite Germany in 1944-1945, when it was no longer a question of suppressing the Nazi army, but of controlling Europe. This is the next game in the «battle for Syria» and a large Middle Eastern geopolitical match, which is yet to be played and which, apparently, is already starting. The most important thing for Russia is that, despite all the difficulties, the country managed to withstand the «Syrian test».

For Vladimir Putin personally, as for the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, the «Syrian campaign» has become an ideal war that will enter the annals of military art.

 

Chapter 7. «INTERFERENCE» IN THE US ELECTION – «RUSSIAN HACKERS» AND GLOOMY PROSPECTS FOR THE STATE-TO-STATE RELATIONS

In the modern era of «hybrid wars», open military confrontations between superpowers are no longer used, the confrontation has moved into a virtual space, where it goes on constantly. Many in Russia, and even Putin himself, were ironic about this «interference in the American election», since such a formulation of the question completely excluded the theses, which the US presidents and representatives of the US establishment had long defended: Russia is «gas station country», so technologically backward that it is difficult to perceive it as a regional center of influence.

The general outcome of the sandal around the «Russian hackers» in the USA was sad: «Russophobia», as a phenomenon, began to penetrate into the pores of the American and European societies, stimulated by media resources. As a result, the world community was on the verge of a pseudo-ideological confrontation, mixed with the old fears of the Western elites over «those Russians».

Exploitation of these stereotypes, unfortunately, leads to creation of a pre-war situation in Europe, although the modern armed conflicts are still local in nature and literally «scattered» around it.

 

Conclusion. PUTIN TOMORROW – WHO IS HE?

Under the obvious (manic) desire of the Western community to demote Putin from the post of President of the Russian Federation, he will not «format» this system under external pressure to avoid its destruction.

Washington, London and Berlin de facto «preserve» the political system of Russia. The merit of Putin is that he, at the same time, preserves its mobility (modifiability) from within, making the functional «fluid». That is why the current political system is still successfully responding to external challenges and, to the surprise of external observers, is even ready not only to escalate the information (sanction, «cold», etc.) war, but also for a hot phase of the competition.

The main trends on the external and internal tracks will be as follows:

Russia has switched from total defense to work with meanings in the political and economic spheres (the active position to prevent threats and challenges from Western countries);

Russia has staked on the formation of regional centers of influence, completing the transition from a monocentric system to a polycentric one (with the active participation of China, India, Iran, and the attention of the EU, Saudi Arabia and other countries to these processes) and will continue to be active in this direction;

Formation of the «Eastern Alliance» (RF and PRC) against NATO is a bipolar design simulating the USSR and the United States and an attempt to reset the institution of the UN;

Russia intends to make a technological leap in the economy and restructure its financial system.

 

Appendix. THE USA’s RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER COUNTRIES.

The table provides short descriptions of the USA’s relations with the other countries and ranges them into six categories: open confrontation, conflict / pre-conflict / traditional tensions, tensions exist (temporal, so far), neutral relations / limited contacts, general friendship and active cooperation at least in one sphere (disagreements on other issues may exist), ally country / close interaction.