Finally, Someone Who Understands Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin at his third inauguration, 7 May 2012
Russian president Vladimir Putin at his third inauguration, 7 May 2012

I used to blog a lot about Russian politics. Not on this blog, on my old blog that is now defunct. As I learned more and more about Russia, as my language skills became better and better, one thing that always annoyed me was how little western writers understood modern Russia. Westerners from many different countries and political persuasions never really got it.

I am happy to say that I have found an excellent article that comes the closest to accurately portraying Russia as anything I have yet read. It was published over one year ago at The American Conservative. It’s called Putin’s Philosophy by Canadian academic Paul Robinson. I am not familiar with Robinson’s work, but after reading this article, I want to read more.

Robinson was trained as a historian and it shows in his article because unlike so many others, he actually has a firm grasp of Russian history and how this history has influenced modern Russia. In fact, he makes this very point:

As a result, Western commentators nowadays, lacking any knowledge of Russia’s conservative heritage, are unable to place contemporary Russian government within the correct intellectual context.

Go read the entire article, right now. It’s excellent.

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4 thoughts on “Finally, Someone Who Understands Putin

  1. Interesting article from a historian’s perspective; shared it on my blog. Also interesting that why Putin’s idolization of Andropov isn’t mentioned as an explanation for some of his actions, but I agree that he very much is the modern day Stolypin. There’s a similar take on Putin in Fiona Hill’s book (you probably at least heard of it), which I think is a fair assessment, on Putin as the “History Man”.

    1. Anya, sadly enough I have not heard of that book. What’s the title? I will definitely have to check it out this December when I’m on break. 🙂

    1. OMG that looks good. Way expensive in the Kindle version, but Russia-related books are usually worth the price.

      I have a Russia section for my personal library. Now that you mention it, a new personal goal of mine is to need a Putin section. 😉

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