Inside the mind of Vladimir Putin
September 21st, 2013
12:55 PM ET

Inside the mind of Vladimir Putin

By CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

Sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya is used to getting into people’s heads.

She’s an expert on Russia’s elites and its political system. For 23 years she headed the Department of Elite Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences and now is director general of the research center “Kryshtanovskaya Laboratory.”

When Kryshtanovskaya looks at Russian President Vladimir Putin, she sees an “average Joe” - make that an “average Ivan.”

“Putin,” she says, “reflects the middle statistical opinion of the average Russian, and what he says is sometimes contradictory, but that is what the majority of Russians think.”

In his first term, she recalls, Putin said the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century was the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

“Every resident of Russia would subscribe to that,” she says.

It’s not that Russians want Communism back, although some do, but the whole structure of life and secure social programs fell apart along with the USSR. So, when people in the West reacted with horror to Putin’s statement, many Russians were surprised, Kryshtanovskaya says, “Everything Putin says is very understandable to us, but not very understandable to you – and vice versa,” she says. “What the American president does, when he starts a war, when he sends troops, when Vietnam begins, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., we can’t understand it.”

Russians who lived during the Soviet Union grew up with government-inspired anti-Americanism. “It’s one of the pillars of our country’s ideology,” she says. “It was formed a long time ago and was carefully instilled in people by the Soviet leaders. Why are there problems? ‘It’s those people, the evil Americans, who are at fault, who make things worse for us.’ It’s an ideological cliché.”

Now, Kryshtanovskaya says, “When Putin thinks of how he can justify his policies, it’s faster to recall this old enemy than to create a new one. This external enemy is a factor of the internal politics of Russia, as strange as that may seem.”

Russian presidents that Americans like are the ones Russians don’t like, she says. “Gorbachev, whom the whole world loved, Russians didn’t like. It’s the mentality. Putin acts according to our traditional mentality which is to respect only strength. That one has to be quite aggressive, that you have to demonstrate crude power so that people will respect you. We even have that expression – “when people fear you it means people respect you.”

Putin’s way of behaving, she says, is an attempt to say “’We are a great power, you have to fear us, we have nuclear weapons, etc.’ That is our mentality.”

Vladimir Putin’s recent op-ed in the New York Times was addressed to the American people, but Kryshtanovskaya believes he was talking to Russians, too.

“‘If you think that heaven on Earth is the United States, that everything is ideal and wonderful there – No! It’s not that way. They have problems.’ So it was an attempt to lower America a bit and boost yourself.”

But today’s Russians, this sociologist says, are split down the middle.

“We have an ideological war in Russia,” she explains. “The opposition, and Putin’s people, they’re two different fronts. One says ‘We want democracy and everything should be the way it is in the West.’ They are the ‘Westerners.’ And people who are for Putin – they once were called ‘Slavophiles’ – they say ‘No, we are a separate civilization. We have our own special path, for us the West is not the way.’”

Kryshtanovskaya sees these divisions, as well, in other developing countries such as China.

Putin also is an example of courage for Russians, she says. “Putin says ‘See? I’m not afraid to speak the truth, even to the most powerful country in the world. We are a very influential country. Look at our proposal on Syria, which is being welcomed.’”

Some Russians, she says, are trying to make fun of the fact that President Barack Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, wants to start a war. They’re playing on that, she says. “It’s we who are saving the world from a new war.”

It’s a constant verbal battle, she says, with some aggression from Russia, and some from Obama, as well. For example, when he called Putin a “schoolboy.”

“That was insulting,” she says. “It’s like a game of ping pong.”

If the framework for destroying Syria’s chemical weapons, proposed by Russia, works out, Kryshtanovskaya says, Russia will jump on it as a PR opportunity.

“’We are great! Hooray! We are geniuses! We found a way out. We are an influential country,’ she says. “That is, to strengthen the position of Putin and the government.”

If it doesn’t work out, it it’s not a tragedy, she says.

“We can say ‘Those bad Americans. How terrible they are. Wherever they go, war follows. They’re starting a new war. We tried. We did everything we could. We were the power of good, but the power of evil didn’t listen to us.’”

Putin, she is convinced, “is going to play on the fact that we are great – and Americans are the enemy.”

soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. vreyrolinomit

    I’d have to examine with you here. Which is not one thing I usually do! I take pleasure in reading a post that may make folks think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to comment!

    http://www.vreyrolinomit.com/

    January 15, 2021 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  2. Adelaide

    can a breathalyzer detect vape

    https://fakenews.win/wiki/JOTVPropaganda_Vape_Juice_Where_To_Buy

    January 14, 2021 at 12:56 am | Reply
  3. Bibi Seeliger

    I have learned new things from the blog post. One other thing to I have seen is that in many instances, FSBO sellers will certainly reject a person. Remember, they might prefer to not use your companies. But if anyone maintain a comfortable, professional relationship, offering assistance and staying in contact for around four to five weeks, you will usually be capable to win a discussion. From there, a listing follows. Many thanks

    http://yourmatrixcashmachine.com

    January 11, 2021 at 10:19 pm | Reply
  4. Mohamed Wiltse

    You are my inhalation , I have few blogs and infrequently run out from to brand.

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    January 11, 2021 at 12:42 am | Reply
  5. Francine Croson

    A few of the auto darkening helmets are also bulkier and bigger than ordinary welding helmets, such as passive types are. However, this is obvious because of the battery, the features and the controls.

    https://bestproductlab.com/tag/jackson-welding-hood/

    January 8, 2021 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  6. Joycelyn Trabert

    I know of the fact that these days, more and more people are increasingly being attracted to digital cameras and the discipline of photography. However, really being a photographer, you need to first invest so much period deciding which model of digital camera to buy and also moving store to store just so you could buy the most affordable camera of the brand you have decided to choose. But it will not end now there. You also have to contemplate whether you should purchase a digital camera extended warranty. Thanks a bunch for the good recommendations I acquired from your weblog.

    https://Dreamproxies.com/buy-proxies/400-private-proxies/

    January 8, 2021 at 12:26 am | Reply
  7. how much is 28 grams of cbd flower

    Good Afternoon everybody , can anyone suggest where I can purchase Lift CBD CBD Tincture Broad Spectrum Tangerine 750mg 1500mg?

    https://justcbdstore.com/product-category/cbd-vape-oil/

    January 7, 2021 at 1:48 am | Reply
  8. Donnie Moresi

    The best brands of recliner chair will offer you some form of cushioning as well as support to help with your spine. The most comfortable seats on the market will also allow your neck to be supported, which is important for people who are prone to back problems. When buying a recliner chair, it is important to make sure that there is ample back and neck support.

    https://bestproductlab.com/best-recliner-chair/

    January 3, 2021 at 8:43 am | Reply
  9. Cathern

    all the time i used to read smaller articles that also clear their motive,
    and that is also happening with this piece of writing which I am reading here.

    Feel free to visit my homepage – vape shop online
    new zealand (Ingrid)

    January 3, 2021 at 8:33 am | Reply
  10. marden.jaime@gmail.com

    YOU NEED FAST PROXY SERVERS ?

    Check it out this Anonymous and Private Proxy Servers.
    HTTP & SOCKS5 Proxy supported.
    IP Authentication or Password Authentication available.
    HERE: https://bit.ly/3ifZkmL

    January 1, 2021 at 7:26 am | Reply
  11. Alberto Bayardo

    How do I get my WordPress blog posts to get views in the days after I first post them?

    https://twitter.com/straininfoonli1/status/1319567326442901504

    December 31, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  12. Hairstyles

    Thanks for your article. Another item is that just being a photographer consists of not only problem in taking award-winning photographs but additionally hardships in establishing the best camera suited to your requirements and most especially challenges in maintaining the quality of your camera. This is very true and visible for those photographers that are in to capturing the actual nature's engaging scenes - the mountains, the actual forests, the actual wild or seas. Visiting these adventurous places certainly requires a video camera that can meet the wild's tough conditions.

    https://www.hairstylescool.com

    December 29, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  13. Bernardo Drobot

    I haven't a clue how to use WordPress and Comicpress to create sites and publish comic strips! Please help. Do you know of a good walkthrough? Thanks much!.

    https://twitter.com/katekdesigns

    December 28, 2020 at 7:23 am | Reply
  14. Houston Wangberg

    I have a Joomla website and already set up a Google Analytics account, now how do I add the code to my website so that it will keep track of visitors etc to every page? Thanks!.

    https://twitter.com/katekdesigns

    December 28, 2020 at 2:29 am | Reply
  15. cbd cream back massage

    how fast does cbd oil kick in

    https://homebusinessmag.com/businesses/special-types/6-simple-steps-selling-wholesale-cbd/

    December 25, 2020 at 3:17 am | Reply
  16. cbd wisdom teeth pain

    so why do you need to put cbd oil under your tongue

    https://mlaspen.com/vegan-cbd-snacks-memorial-day

    December 24, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  17. Franklin Schouweiler

    The top stock to buy for 2021 range with small-cap precious stones in the rough similar to URBT to dominant emerging stocks. In the event you have $1,000 free right now, the following groundbreaking stock can be wonderful for opportunistic long-term buyers. Urban TV Network Corp stock symbol URBT. I needn't what you think, nonetheless when I think about technology, streaming services stocks spring to mind. Covering the past decade, we certainly have witnessed astounding breakthroughs in internet streaming bit rates and devices which are created to support those services. We have observed foremost streaming services similar to HBO & Hulu snag market share, except this little known corporation Urban TV Network Corporation. have launched tremendous streaming services URBTPlus Movies + Live TV. I imagine this company will undoubtedly corner the urban internet streaming Market. The stock market always has a few shocks in store, just like any shareholder in 2020 would corroborate. URBT continues to be astonishing that has a 400 increase over twelve months. But by & large, the principal element experts are considering as they recognize the best stocks to obtain for 2021 is the same element that dominated 2020: COVID-19. And streaming service URBTPlus is answering the call. So as an shareholder look at Urban Televison Network Corporation. stock symbol (OTC:URBT). #top5investment2121

    https://www.otcmarkets.com/stock/URBT/overview

    December 24, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Reply
1 2

Leave a Reply to van cleef and arpels necklace sale knock off


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.