I recently read "Death of a Dissident". It is the story of the ex-KGB agent who was assassinated by radioactive poisoning.
I thought the book would all be cloak & dagger about the poison plot. I was wrong. It was one of the best historical/political books I've read. The history it goes over is the history of Russia from 1990 or so onward.
While it centers around the man who was killed, his life as an undercover cop mopping up organized crime gangs, it goes into the political machinations of those seeking to drive Russia into a modern democracy.
Putin is described as a Gang-raised loyalty junky who has mastered the KGB skill of reflection. He appears to those who speak to him as a reflection of themselves. They see in him what they want to see. As a result, they are all surprised when he acts differently than they predict. Someone like President Bush is fooled by this skill into looking in their eyes and seeing someone they can trust.
The main motivator of Putin in this book is basic street-level loyalty, the same motivator in the average street gang. You are loyal to us, then you get rewarded. You are disloyal and you get punished.
Posts: 11895 | Registered: Apr 2002
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It's hard to explain why, because I don't like how he's gone about achieving his objectives, but I come from three years of high school debate where I needed to give a lot of speeches on the fellow. I suppose after reading so much of what he's done I've become somewhat desensitized to the immorality of his actions, but now just find enjoyment in his audacity to go through with them. Maybe it's a 'laughing away the tears' kind of thing.
Posts: 1831 | Registered: Jan 2003
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Apparently the familiar form of Vladimir is Volodya, I really like the sound of that name. But then again, though I love Russian names, I'm not sure I could gather the courage to give one of their names to one of my future children. Maybe as a middle name.