Who is Vladimir Putin?
Before his invasion of Ukraine, I never gave him much thought. His plan has turned sour and it appears he plans to slam his country behind an iron curtain while purging all opposition from Russian society. I feel bad for the Russian people. In their history, haven't they endured enough? So who would this madman aspire to be, the Hitler or Stalin of the era?
You may not be aware of a somewhat murky history. The story goes like this. A woman came forward in 1999 claiming to be his biological mother. Vera Putina, now in her eighties, claims she became pregnant by a married man who convinced her to abandon the child. Eventually, she agreed and alleges he was taken in by the grandparents at first, then his parents. She claims she was threatened by officials after coming forward, and a local schoolteacher with knowledge of the event was also threatened. This could explain the gap in his biography as his parents would have been in their forties. To her credit, Ms. Putina volunteered DNA, but that was never done.
There's more. A Russian journalist, Artyons Borovik, was filming a documentary that included Ms. Putina's story and was killed in an unfortunate plane crash. Then an Italian journalist, Antonio Russo, was murdered while researching and writing his story about the event. I know, it all sounds very KGB, doesn't it? We know from recent past events of polonium-210 poisonings what this former KGB officer is capable of doing.
What does he want? After the demise of the USSR, western influences began to take root in Russia. Ukraine after gaining independence gravitated toward the EU and NATO. Putin views that as a final blow to Russian heritage and seems to want a time machine to revert to the past and "Make Russia Great Again." MRGA wishes will not happen and are the desires of an old man stuck in the past. The genie is out of the bottle.
He will fail in Ukraine, but what will become of Russia? Just how far will he go? He threatens nukes to instill fear in the west. At what point do we call his bluff? He is not a stupid man and by now must realize his hold on power becomes more perilous every day. There are media reports he has fired hundreds of his staff over fears of poisoning.
There is no question that he is on his way out. The question is what does he do with his back against the wall? A cornered rat is dangerous and hopefully, those close to him will act to stop his ego-driven insanity before he inflicts a point of no return damage.
There is no reason Russia cannot be a viable, friendly European nation and trade partner. The world benefits as does Russia. It starts with stopping the war in Ukraine and removing Putin. This should be followed by a nuclear disarmament agreement.
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