This is Putin: a stern, intelligent and even pleasant tightrope walker if the occasion requires it

Robot portrait of the Russian president, a kind of tightrope walker who walked on the wire with unstable balance.

From the beginning of his activity in the KGB and later in politics, Vladimir Putin showed himself to be a kind of tightrope walker who walked on a wire with unsteady balance. He thus tried to please the old Soviet order to placate the discontent of the Russian people, even at the cost of praising Stalin’s dubious military expertise while he praised the dissident hero Andrei Sakharov. This schizophrenia was not typical of a witty or sparky man , but rather of a stern, intelligent and sometimes even pleasant tightrope walker. A solemn bureaucrat accustomed to listening, watching and keeping silent. A model of a spy stamped in the very bowels of the KGB where he entered in the summer of 1975.

It was the impenetrable face. His shark-like gaze, lifeless, which never revealed anything, blended with his brief and insipid language, in the purest Soviet style. That is why most of his compatriots were so surprised when US President George Bush declared in 2001 that he had “looked into his eyes” and that he could get “an idea of ​​what his soul was like”. Was Bush perhaps a mystic who possessed the gift of reading souls…?Over the years it has been shown that Putin’s mood, sometimes bland and reserved, was nothing more than a tactical position, a professional pose for the sake of self-interest. What was certain and undeniable was also that in less than four years he was assigned as an assistant in the Kremlin, then he was appointed head of the espionage service, then prime minister and finally president. A dazzling chain of promotions, typical of a cold, cunning and obstinate man.

From the beginning of his mandate it was also clear that he was not going to be the democratic president that the entire West expected, nor was he going to be a man of traditional autocratic values. His lukewarmness with democratic ideals was obvious. He never fought for the end of communism. He simply behaved like a statesman (“gosudarstvennik”) who only cared about the growth and prosperity of Russia, compromised by Yeltsin after his reckless declaration of war on Chechnya and the consequent decline of basic industries and social services.

The Yeltsin Disaster

Yeltsin’s disastrous economic management, which rewarded the corrupt and paved the way for resentful losers, reached such an extreme that millions of Russians even lamented the disappearance of the Soviet Union. Another nod from Putin to the former Soviet regime was his support for the reinstatement of the national anthem that accompanied the murder of tens of millions of people during the worst years of horror and cruelty in the history of the Slavic people.

Composed in 1943 with the approval of Stalin, Putin tried to soften the lyrics by resorting again to its author, Sergei Mikhalkov , to change this significant stanza: “Party of Lenin / the strength of the people / Guide us to the triumph of communism! ”. For this other one where he questioned the atheism of the Soviet regime trying to also please the new generations: “From the South Seas to the polar region / Extend our forests and fields / You are unique in the world, inimitable / Mother Earth protected by God! !”.

His stratagem to please everyone, however, provoked Yeltsin’s outrage in public and that of the musical and literary intelligentsia of the day, from Mstislav Rostropovich to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Not surprisingly, Putin’s own mentor had replaced the red Soviet flag with the tricolor of the tsarist era, and the hammer and sickle by the double-headed eagle, whose origin dates back to the fifteenth century. During Yeltsin’s mandate, Mikhail Glinka’s anthem from 1833 was played. The so-called “Patriotic Song”, without lyrics. Hence, the elimination of him to recover the old anthem that so many excesses set to music infuriated Yeltsin, to the point of exclaiming: “It’s red!” To make matters worse, Putin rescued the Award of the Order of Lenin, another nod to the most recalcitrant communists of the former Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, he does not tire today of assuring his compatriots that Russia is a nation whose historical greatness must be restored. During the tercentenary celebrations of his native St. Petersburg, he thus extolled the “imperskii bliesk” or “imperial splendor” of the city. United Russia, the pro-Kremlin party in parliament, employs figures such as the poet and novelist Aleksandr Pushkin or Piotr Stolypin, prime minister and economic reformer of Tsar Nicholas II, to tout his virtues. This is the man on whom the future of humanity depends in part.

Secret baptism

Putin’s mother, Maria Ivanovna Putina (born Shelomova), like Stalin’s, was a woman of faith who had her roots deep in the bowels of the Russian Orthodox Church. Putin had shared his religious beliefs with the whole world in a book of interviews published before his first-term elections. He proudly recounted how his mother took him to be secretly baptized in a St. Petersburg church weeks after he was born, hiding it from his father, Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin, since he was a member of the Communist Party and a staunch opponent of religion. The day on which Maria Ivanovna took her newborn son to be baptized, the feast of St. Michael was celebrated, and the priest was also called that. So he proposed to give the child the same name, but his mother objected, claiming that he should be called Vladimir.

The date: 1975

From the beginning, Putin was a bureaucrat accustomed to listening, watching and keeping quiet; a model of a spy cut into the bowels of the secret police.

Place: Moscow

A nod from Putin to the former Soviet regime was his support for the reinstatement of the national anthem that accompanied the murder of millions of people.

The anecdote

His shark eyes never gave anything away, which is why many were surprised when Bush said he knew “what his soul was like” by looking at him.

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