What does Putin want?

An objective analyses of Putin strategic goals.

The Fifth Column

REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

THE WEEK

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been playing an aggressive game of chess against the West. What’s he up to? Here’s everything you need to know:

How powerful is Putin?
In Russia, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, 64, rules like a czar, with near-total control of the country. A former KGB agent, he is a secretive, self-disciplined geopolitical strategist who, unlike most Russian men, doesn’t drink at all. He presides over a cult of personality that seems comical to outsiders — images of him shirtless on horseback, tracking down a Siberian tiger, or diving in the Black Sea to retrieve ancient artifacts are common in Russian media. But his macho nationalism resonates with the many Russians who longed for a strong leader after the chaos of the Soviet collapse. Putin’s regime is deeply entangled with the Russian oil industry and the country’s billionaire oligarchs; as a result, his…

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