Putin: A man difficult to understand

Some describe him as an “interesting” politician and others as a paranoid dictator. The 69-year-old is as secretive about his personal life as his former spy. On the other hand, he openly shows his “imperialist” ambitions and his desire to suppress his enemies. Who is Vladimir Putin really, and how far will he go? This is the question the whole West is asking.

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An enigmatic creature

There are very few “botanists” because there are very few talented people [le] decipher “, immediately warns Charles-Philippe David, researcher in Raul-Dandurand’s seat on strategic and diplomatic studies.

On the one hand, Vladimir Putin could be very direct in his war intentions or in his dream of returning to Russian greatness.

On the other hand, his personal life is practically forbidden. It is known that he divorced his wife and has two daughters, but he kept it very secret around his family. Paris match He calls her a “ghost”.

Guillaume Sauvé, an expert in Russia at the Center for International Studies and Research at the University of Montreal, adds that he is the leader of a very opaque regime.

Why worry about what’s going on in Putin’s head? Because everything suggests that he is the one who decides everything. “It’s not always true, but it’s what the regime wants to give,” he said. Chao says briefly.

Disappointed spy

Vladimir Putin was born on October 7, 1952 in St. Petersburg. He grew up in the martial culture of the Soviet era, which encouraged children to “read war literature ready for sacrifice,” says French journalist Michel Eltchaninoff in his book. In the mind of Vladimir Putin.

After studying law, Putin joined the KGB, the Soviet secret service. He began his political career as mayor of St. Petersburg in the 1990s. In March 2000, he was elected President of the Russian Federation.

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Guillaume Sauvé summarizes that in his early days, President Putin “wanted to re-establish relations between Russia and the West.”

The last thirty years have been a story of “a long disappointment” because he thinks the West is trying to sideline Russia, refusing to give it its rightful place in the world, and organizing revolutions to overthrow its allies.

Putin has changed …

The boot of diplomacy and open beginnings has disappeared, Charles-Philippe David notes. “For the past ten years, some have found him to be very paranoid, surrounded by” yes men “and not very susceptible to conflicting opinions.”

In his speech on Monday, irrational or delusional elements such as his remarks on Ukraine’s “reduction” appear.

There is even a theory that Putin isolated himself during the epidemics. In early February, French President Emmanuel Macron saw it as “steeper” than ever, “leaving a kind of slippery slope in both ideology and security”.

… but not so much

These psychological analyzes are not believed by Renio Luig. This history professor at the University of Laval lists past interventions that illustrate the sustainability of Vladimir Putin’s will in Georgia and Crimea.

“The big difference [avec l’invasion de l’Ukraine]That’s the size, “he explains.

Already in 2015, Michel Eltchaninoff wrote: “Vladimir Putin has a plan for Europe and the world.”

“What this week’s events have revealed is that he is ready to do anything to achieve his goals, and the opinion of the West is important to him,” Guillo said.

How far will he go? Dominic Arel, a professor at the University of Ottawa, worries that “the unimaginable has gradually become imaginary.”

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Strong man

Sochi, 2007. Russian President Angela Merkel receives German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Under the light of the photographers, Putin enters the Labrador room, while his master looks at his frightened speaker with a smile.

This scene illustrates his desire to appear masculine, reminiscent of his habits such as riding a horse or fishing.

“He only understands the balance of power,” former French President Franois Hollande said this week. “He thinks only in terms of shame or domination.”

Dictator or monster?

Vladimir Putin has been in power for 22 years. Can stay there until 2036.

Michael Carley, a professor of history at the University of Montreal, says he is “a very impressive politician” while acknowledging that his analysis may come as a shock.

“We tend to portray Putin as a monster. The idea that he will be paranoid is American propaganda,” said the man, who considers Russia to have good reason to fear for his own security.

According to Charles-Philippe David, Putin is a dictator who is going to push his country into “misery” except for the loss of life in the name of his grandiose ideas.

“Dictator” is an unscientific term, a subtle Guillaume Sauvé. “He is a dictatorial leader with a growing dictatorship.”

That said, Russia is not China, Mr. Sauvé recalled. Russian television is subject to the state, but not the press, he explains. Many newspapers have openly taken a stand against the war in Ukraine.

“Putin is not subject to public opinion.” He has handed over the responsibility for the Govt-19 vaccine to the regional governors because it is notorious, he is an example.

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That is why if the invasion of Ukraine is to be a “blitzkrieg” and he does not want to end a dissent within his own country, Mr. Says Sauvé.

-With AFP, France.tv, Le Point, Reuters, Le Figaro, L’Express, BBC

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