I am very lucky to have spent a month in Russia in both Vladivostok and in Moscow just after 9-11. The Russian people are kind, generous and good people. They are intensely creative and excel in art and music. Many of them are profoundly capable of out of the box thinking and this can be helpful with the design of scientific research. They are capable of great self discipline in these regards. Although I personally feel that the Russian language can be a handicap in itself, many of them speak French, English or multiple languages quite well. A lot of what I know about the potentials of financial and governmental collapses in general, I learned from the perspective of Russians who lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early nineteen-nineties. Judges, doctors, social workers, prosecutors, all still went to work, even though they were not being paid, simply because they had obligations to their patients or clients. Although they weren't paid for quite a time during this period, they did receive food for themselves and their families. Going to work also gave them a framework of normalcy. But just as Barack Obama does not speak for me in matters of health care, Constitutional issues, freedom, gun laws, education, the economy, executive privilege and too many other matters to list here, Vladimir Putin does not speak for all of them.
Vladimir Putin has been a much better leader to Russia than Barack Obama has to the United States. At least, Putin's actions in large part benefit the Russia he loves and works to protect. Obama seems, at every turn, to be poisoning our economy, our security and our reputation worldwide. Let's look for a moment at Vladimir Putin. Mr. Putin was a high ranking member of the KGB (before it became the FSB or Federal Security Bureau) for about eighteen years. He was ultimately promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in that role. Anyone who succeeded in the culture of the KGB would not only have to have been highly intelligent, but have very much bought the means- to- an- end cut throat culture of the institution. Mr. Putin is also personally a master at a number of fighting arts for sport. Even among KGB agents, he was known as a "hard ass". He drank the proverbial cultural kool-aid of the KGB. Upon his departure from the KGB, he entered local politics in Saint Petersburg. Then, he joined the administration of Boris Yeltsin and moved his wife and two daughters to Moscow. When Yeltsin resigned unexpectedly, Mr. Putin became acting president in 1999. Since then, he has either been the Russian president, or has alternated the role with Dimitri Medvedev who shares most all of Mr. Putin's goals and modalities.
Vladimir Putin is a very interesting character from a human interest and from an historical perspective. Under what is largely his stewardship, Russia has risen in a very brief period of time (from the early 1990s.) from a decentralized vast nation in organizational disarray, to a place where capitalism has actually flourished. Many businesses and many Russian cities have experienced a significant revitalization. Moscow is not only a lovely and historical city but boasts the largest numbers of millionaires in any major capital city in the world. Russia has paid down its national debt and has replaced all manner of its war machine, including updated modern nuclear weapons. There has also been a significant and notable exploitation and use of Russia's vast stores of energy. They have also excelled in mining, and have some of the only palladium mines in the world. Putin has also stood over a return to Russian nationalism and pride, and he has presided over a national return to the Russian Orthodox Church.
However, no less than seventeen people who have openly opposed Mr. Putin have died under unusual circumstances. The most notable of which is Alexander Litvinenko, who died in England, following the ingestion of a polonium variant traced to Russia. The British investigation of this traced the polonium to a friend of Mr. Putin's who now holds a Russian Parliamentary post. Litvinenko was an enemy of Putin and knew him well from their KGB days together.
Make no mistake, Vladimir Putin is a very bright man and a capable leader who has brought Russia from the Third World to a genuine economy that can compete on many levels with the United States and any other G8 nation on the worldwide stage. He has been, over all, a very good leader to Russia. There have however, been human rights violations on his watch, the invasion of Georgia, and great growth in the Russian Federation's intelligence and propaganda machine. He will likely stop at nothing to bring his nation back to its prior glory. Whether this means he intends to move toward world domination, I will leave up to you.
Sadly, the US does not have as notable a leader in power presently. Barack Obama has been centered on the apparent neutering and grand disarmament both domestically and worldwide of the United States. Rather than keeping a strong military as a deterrent to war, Obama has been dismantling and reducing our military. Perhaps Obama believes one of the lines from the Bourne Identity., "Perhaps he can rent a conference room and talk them to death."
Yesterday, the anchor of RT (Russia Today) resigned on air. I happened to be watching when Liz Wahl, expressed concern that RT is a Putin financed propaganda machine with the purpose of underscoring the deficiencies of the United States. She tendered her resignation during the broadcast. She is of Hungarian ancestry and expressed concern for Russia's recent imperial actions in Ukraine.
I complained several years ago in a prior post that university resources are being spent on Arabic and not on teaching Russian on the college level. Russian is a highly complex language and cannot be learned as quickly as many languages. This is an egregious time to have retired most all of the Russian speakers in our own US intelligence machine.
My prior post on Russian language with regard to intelligence analysis: