RUSSIA REPORT: PUTIN
by Sharon Tennison
21 April, 2014
As the Ukraine situation has worsened, unconscionable misinformation and hype is being poured on Russia and Vladimir Putin.
Journalists and pundits must scour the Internet and thesauruses to come up with fiendish new epithets to describe both.
Wherever I make presentations across America, the first question ominously asked during Q&A is always, "What about Putin?"
It's time to share my thoughts which follow:
Putin obviously has his faults and makes mistakes. Based on my earlier experience with him, and the experiences of trusted people, including U.S. officials who have worked closely with him over a period of years, Putin most likely is a straight, reliable and exceptionally inventive man. He is obviously a long-term thinker and planner and has proven to be an excellent analyst and strategist. He is a leader who can quietly work toward his goals under mounds of accusations and myths that have been steadily leveled at him since he became Russia's second president.
I've stood by silently watching the demonization of Putin grow since it began in the early 2000s –– I pondered on computer my thoughts and concerns, hoping eventually to include them in a book (which was published in 2011). The book explains my observations more thoroughly than this article. Like others who have had direct experience with this little known man, I've tried to no avail to avoid being labeled a "Putin apologist". If one is even neutral about him, they are considered "soft on Putin" by pundits, news hounds and average citizens who get their news from CNN, Fox and MSNBC.
I don't pretend to be an expert, just a program developer in the USSR and Russia for the past 30 years. But during this time, I've have had far more direct, on-ground contact with Russians of all stripes across 11 time zones than any of the Western reporters or for that matter any of Washington's officials. I've been in country long enough to ponder Russian history and culture deeply, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders. As with personalities in a family or a civic club or in a city hall, it takes understanding and compromise to be able to create workable relationships when basic conditionings are different. Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway.
In addition to my personal experience with Putin, I've had discussions with numerous American officials and U.S. businessmen who have had years of experience working with him - I believe it is safe to say that none would describe him as "brutal" or "thuggish", or the other slanderous adjectives and nouns that are repeatedly used in western media.
I met Putin years before he ever dreamed of being president of Russia, as did many of us working in St.Petersburg during the 1990s. Since all of the slander started, I've become nearly obsessed with understanding his character. I think I've read every major speech he has given (including the full texts of his annual hours-long telephone "talk-ins" with Russian citizens). I've been trying to ascertain whether he has changed for the worse since being elevated to the presidency, or whether he is a straight character cast into a role he never anticipated––and is using sheer wits to try to do the best he can to deal with Washington under extremely difficult circumstances. If the latter is the case, and I think it is, he should get high marks for his performance over the past 14 years. It's not by accident that Forbes declared him the most Powerful Leader of 2013, replacing Obama who was given the title for 2012. The following is my one personal experience with Putin.
The year was 1992: It was two years after the implosion of communism; the place was St.Petersburg. For years I had been creating programs to open up relations between the two countries and hopefully to help Soviet people to get beyond their entrenched top-down mentalities. A new program possibility emerged in my head. Since I expected it might require a signature from the Marienskii City Hall, an appointment was made. My friend Volodya Shestakov and I showed up at a side door entrance to the Marienskii building. We found ourselves in a small, dull brown office, facing a rather trim nondescript man in a brown suit. He inquired about my reason for coming in. After scanning the proposal I provided he began asking intelligent questions. After each of my answers, he asked the next relevant question. I became aware that this interviewer was different from other Soviet bureaucrats who always seemed to fall into chummy conversations with foreigners with hopes of obtaining bribes in exchange for the Americans' requests. CCI stood on the principle that we would never, never give bribes. This bureaucrat was open, inquiring, and impersonal in demeanor. After more than an hour of careful questions and answers, he quietly explained that he had tried hard to determine if the proposal was legal, then said that unfortunately at the time it was not. A few good words about the proposal were uttered. That was all. He simply and kindly showed us to the door. Out on the sidewalk, I said to my colleague, "Volodya, this is the first time we have ever dealt with a Soviet bureaucrat who didn't ask us for a trip to the US or something valuable!" I remember looking at his business card in the sunlight - it read Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
Putin as Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg in the early 90s.
1994: U.S. Consul General Jack Gosnell put in an SOS call to me in St.Petersburg. He had 14 Congress members and the new American Ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, coming to St.Petersburg in the next three days. He needed immediate help. I scurried over to the Consulate and learned that Jack intended me to brief this auspicious delegation and the incoming ambassador. I was stunned but he insisted. They were coming from Moscow and were furious about how U.S. funding was being wasted there. Jack wanted them to hear the"good news" about CCI's programs that were showing fine results. In the next 24 hours Jack and I also set up "home" meetings in a dozen Russian entrepreneurs' small apartments for the arriving dignitaries (St.Petersburg State Department people were aghast, since it had never been done before––but Jack overruled). Only later in 2000, did I learn of Jack's former three-year experience with Vladimir Putin in the 1990s while the latter was running the city for Mayor Sobchak. More on this further down.
December 31, 1999:
With no warning, at the turn of the year, President Boris Yeltsin made the announcement to the world that from the next day forward he was vacating his office and leaving Russia in the hands of an unknown Vladimir Putin. On hearing the news, I thought surely not the Putin I remembered - he could never lead Russia. The next day a NYT article included a photo. Yes, it was the same Putin I'd met years ago! I was shocked and dismayed, telling friends, "This is a disaster for Russia, I've spent time with this guy, he is too introverted and too intelligent - he will never be able to relate to Russia's masses." Further, I lamented: "For Russia to get up off of its knees, two things must happen: 1) The arrogant young oligarchs have to be removed by force from the Kremlin, and 2) A way must be found to remove the regional bosses (governors) from their fiefdoms across Russia's 89 regions". It was clear to me that the man in the brown suit would never have the instincts or guts to tackle Russia's overriding twin challenges.
February 2000: Almost immediately Putin began putting Russia's oligarchs on edge. In February a question about the oligarchs came up; he clarified with a question and his answer: "What should be the relationship with the so-called oligarchs? The same as anyone else. The same as the owner of a small bakery or a shoe repair shop." This was the first signal that the tycoons would no longer be able to flaunt government regulations or count on special access in the Kremlin. It also made the West's capitalists nervous. After all, these oligarchs were wealthy untouchable businessmen - good capitalists, never mind that they got their enterprises illegally and were putting their profits in offshore banks.
Four months later Putin called a meeting with the oligarchs and gave them his deal: They could keep their illegally-gained wealth-producing Soviet enterprises and they would not be nationalized …. IF taxes were paid on their revenues and if they personally stayed out of politics. This was the first of Putin's "elegant solutions" to the near impossible challenges facing the new Russia. But the deal also put Putin in crosshairs with US media and officials who then began to champion the oligarchs, particularly Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The latter became highly political, didn't pay taxes, and prior to being apprehended and jailed was in the process of selling a major portion of Russia's largest private oil company, Yukos Oil, to Exxon Mobil. Unfortunately, to U.S. media and governing structures, Khodorkovsky became a martyr (and remains so up to today).
Throughout the 2000's: St.Petersburg's many CCI alumni were being interviewed to determine how the PEP business training program was working and how we could make the U.S. experience more valuable for their new small businesses. Most believed that the program had been enormously important, even life changing. Last, each was asked, "So what do you think of your new president?" None responded negatively, even though at that time entrepreneurs hated Russia's bureaucrats. Most answered similarly, "Putin registered my business a few years ago". Next question, "So, how much did it cost you?" To a person they replied, "Putin didn't charge anything". One said, "We went to Putin's desk because the others providing registrations at the Marienskii were getting 'rich on their seats.'"
Late 2000: Into Putin's first year as Russia's president, US officials seemed to me to be suspect that he would be antithetical to America's interests - his every move was called into question in American media. I couldn't understand why and was chronicling these happenings in my computer and newsletters.
Year 2001: Jack Gosnell (former USCG mentioned earlier) explained his relationship with Putin when the latter was deputy mayor of St.Petersburg. The two of them worked closely to create joint ventures and other ways to promote relations between the two countries. Jack related that Putin was always straight up, courteous and helpful. When Putin's wife, Ludmila, was in a severe auto accident, Jack took the liberty (before informing Putin) to arrange hospitalization and airline travel for her to get medical care in Finland. When Jack told Putin, he reported that the latter was overcome by the generous offer, but ended saying that he couldn't accept this favor, that Ludmila would have to recover in a Russian hospital. She did––although medical care in Russia was abominably bad in the 1990s.
A senior CSIS officer I was friends with in the 2000s worked closely with Putin on a number of joint ventures during the 1990s. He reported that he had no dealings with Putin that were questionable, that he respected him and believed he was getting an undeserved dour reputation from U.S. media. Matter of fact, he closed the door at CSIS when we started talking about Putin. I guessed his comments wouldn't be acceptable if others were listening.
Another former U.S. official who will go unidentified, also reported working closely with Putin, saying there was never any hint of bribery, pressuring, nothing but respectable behaviors and helpfulness.
I had two encounters in 2013 with State Department officials regarding Putin:
At the first one, I felt free to ask the question I had previously yearned to get answered: "When did Putin become unacceptable to Washington officials and why? Without hesitating the answer came back: "'The knives were drawn' when it was announced that Putin would be the next president." I questioned WHY? The answer: "I could never find out why––maybe because he was KGB." I offered that Bush #I, was head of the CIA. The reply was, "That would have made no difference, he was our guy."
The second was a former State Department official with whom I recently shared a radio interview on Russia. Afterward when we were chatting, I remarked, "You might be interested to know that I've collected experiences of Putin from numerous people, some over a period of years, and they all say they had no negative experiences with Putin and there was no evidence of taking bribes". He firmly replied, "No one has ever been able to come up with a bribery charge against Putin."
From 2001 up to today, I've watched the negative U.S. media mounting against Putin …. even accusations of assassinations, poisonings, and comparing him to Hitler. No one yet has come up with any concrete evidence for these allegations. During this time, I've traveled throughout Russia several times every year, and have watched the country slowly change under Putin's watch. Taxes were lowered, inflation lessened, and laws slowly put in place. Schools and hospitals began improving. Small businesses were growing, agriculture was showing improvement, and stores were becoming stocked with food. Alcohol challenges were less obvious, smoking was banned from buildings, and life expectancy began increasing. Highways were being laid across the country, new rails and modern trains appeared even in far out places, and the banking industry was becoming dependable. Russia was beginning to look like a decent country –– certainly not where Russians hoped it to be long term, but improving incrementally for the first time in their memories.
Modern Russia, thriving
My 2013/14 Trips to Russia: In addition to St.Petersburg and Moscow, in September I traveled out to the Ural Mountains, spent time in Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Perm. We traveled between cities via autos and rail––the fields and forests look healthy, small towns sport new paint and construction. Today's Russians look like Americans (we get the same clothing from China). Old concrete Khrushchev block houses are giving way to new multi-story private residential complexes which are lovely. High-rise business centers, fine hotels and great restaurants are now common place––and ordinary Russians frequent these places. Two and three story private homes rim these Russian cities far from Moscow. We visited new museums, municipal buildings and huge super markets. Streets are in good repair, highways are new and well marked now, service stations looks like those dotting American highways. In January I went to Novosibirsk out in Siberia where similar new architecture was noted. Streets were kept navigable with constant snowplowing, modern lighting kept the city bright all night, lots of new traffic lights (with seconds counting down to light change) have appeared. It is astounding to me how much progress Russia has made in the past 14 years since an unknown man with no experience walked into Russia's presidency and took over a country that was flat on its belly.
So why do our leaders and media demean and demonize Putin and Russia???
Like Lady MacBeth, do they protest too much?
Psychologists tell us that people (and countries?) project off on others what they don't want to face in themselves. Others carry our "shadow"when we refuse to own it. We confer on others the very traits that we are horrified to acknowledge in ourselves.
Could this be why we constantly find fault with Putin and Russia?
Could it be that we project on to Putin the sins of ourselves and our leaders?
Could it be that we condemn Russia's corruption, acting like the corruption within our corporate world doesn't exist?
Could it be that we condemn their human rights and LGBT issues, not facing the fact that we haven't solved our own?
Could it be that we accuse Russia of "reconstituting the USSR"––because of what we do to remain the world's "hegemon"?
Could it be that we project nationalist behaviors on Russia, because that is what we have become and we don't want to face it?
Could it be that we project warmongering off on Russia, because of what we have done over the past several administrations?
Some of you were around Putin in the earlier years. Please share your opinions, pro and con …. confidentiality will be assured. It's important to develop a composite picture of this demonized leader and get the record straight. I'm quite sure that 99% of those who excoriate him in mainstream media have had no personal contact with him at all. They write articles on hearsay, rumors and fabrication, or they read scripts others have written on their tele-prompters. This is how our nation gets its "news", such as it is.
There is a well known code of ethics among us: Is it the Truth, Is it Fair, Does it build Friendship and Goodwill, and Will it be Beneficial for All Concerned?
It seems to me that if our nation's leaders would commit to using these four principles in international relations, the world would operate in a completely different manner, and human beings across this planet would live in better conditions than they do today.
As always your comments will be appreciated. Please resend this report to as many friends and colleagues as possible.
President and Founder
Center for Citizen Initiatives
Author: The Power of Impossible Ideas
www.ccisf.org (under revision)
Rotary Club of Palo Alto, CA
Vladimir Putin Rage
Russian Orthodox Church gives award to Putin for making
country "powerful and strong"
Watch This Reaction: Putin Laughs Right In This
Putin being a bad-ass
Russia Versus the NWO 1/5 - Peter Schaenk Interviews
Dr. Matthew Raphael Johnson
The Talented Mr. Putin by Michael S. King
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael S. King is a private investigative journalist and researcher based in the New York area. A 1987 Graduate of Rutgers University, King's subsequent 30 year career in Marketing & Advertising has equipped him with a unique perspective when it comes to understanding how "public opinion" is indeed scientifically manufactured.
Madison Ave marketing acumen combines with "City Boy‟ instincts to make Michael S. King one of the most tenacious detectors of "things that don't add up" in the world today. Says King of his admitted quirks, irreverent disdain for "conventional wisdom" and uncanny ability to ferret out and weave together important data points that others miss: "Had Sherlock Holmes been an actual historical personage, I would have been his reincarnation."
King's other interests include the animal kingdom, philosophy, chess, cooking literature, history, (with emphasis on events of the late 19th through the 20th century).
As of the date of this publication (April 2014), a Google Search for the term "Putin thug" yields an astonishing 850,000 results; about the same as for "Putin murderer". Coming in at about 500,000 results is "Putin tyrant". Even the whimsical "Putin the Terrible" is pushing 100,000. Most of these negative results source back to some bloviating American politician, commentator, editorial writer or journalist for a major American publication. Others trace back to European parliamentarians or periodicals.
To be sure, favorable Western reviews for Russia's enigmatic leader are also readily available; but the preponderance of the Western sourced adjectives used to describe Vladimir Putin, be it from the "left" or from the "right", is clearly of a negative nature.
A steady diet of anti-Putin hatred & ridicule in the West
But in Russia itself, the perception is vastly different. Ever since his rise to power, Putin's approval rating among the Russian people has hovered between 70-80%; far higher than that of any American President or European Prime Minister. (1) Indeed, many Russians regard him as the savior of Mother Russia; with some referring to him as "Putin the Great". Some among Russia's Orthodox Christian faithful today believe that Putin was God sent, literally!
Even Putin's most hysterical Western detractors unanimously concede that his talents and abilities are unusually formidable. Putin came from a very humble background. As a young boy, he was full of energy, fond of Martial Arts, and not one to shy away from trouble. His 5th grade teacher, Vera Gurevich, recalls young Vlad:
"In the fifth grade, he still hadn't found himself yet, but I could feel the potential, the energy and the character in him. I saw that he had a great deal of interest in language; he picked it up easily. He had a very good memory and an agile mind.
I thought, something good will come of this boy, so I decided to give him more attention, to distract him from the boys on the streets." (2)
In High School, Putin studied Chemistry at a Technological Institute (which is probably very close to obtaining a Chemistry Degree from some American colleges). He would later obtain a Law Degree from what was then known as Leningrad State University. Brainy Putin later earned a Ph.D in Economics, while also mastering the German language in his spare time. He is basically conversant in English and French. Putin is also well versed in History and Literature (including English & American works) and an aficionado of Ballet, Ice Hockey, Opera and both Classical & Blues music.
In 1983, Putin married Lyudmila Shkrebneva, a beautiful Flight Attendant with whom he would have two daughters. He is a passionate outdoorsman, animal lover, good with a gun, and holds a Black Belt in Judo. He served 16 years in the Intelligence Service, rising to Russia's Intelligence Chief after the USSR collapsed.
1: Young Vlad 2: Young Mrs. Putin 3: Martial Arts Master 4: Russia’s Man of the Hour
Clearly, the negative Internet Search super majority and the Russian population super majority cannot both be right about Mr. Putin. So, who is right? Or does the truth about Vladimir Putin lie somewhere in between? Why so much Putin-hating in the West?
As the astute reader has probably already deduced from the title - The Talented Mr. Putin: What the Government-Media Complex Doesn’t Want You to Know About the New Russia – this work intends to set forth a body of evidence which will strongly support the Russian majority‟s perception. Though the style may seem much more breezy and conversational than the conventional academic sedatives which normally deal with such matters; be assured that the scholarship displayed throughout is as unerring as it is meticulously sourced. This is no opinion piece. It is an organized, concise collection of hard and proven facts which, when weaved together, will state their own conclusions; conclusions which the Western "Powers That Be" have concealed from you, but cannot refute.
And so, dear reader, turn off your TV news and put down your morning newspaper for a while. As the late comedian and social commentator George Carlin used to say; "It‟s all bullshit, and it‟s bad for you."
Just pretend that you have never even heard of Vladimir Putin, until now. With confrontation looming (if certain players have their way), the people of the "free world" cannot afford to be misled any longer. Of course, you will render your own final verdict regarding Mr. Putin. But how can it be a just one until you have at least considered the organized array of facts which are about to be presented?
That said, let's climb into my time machine, and enjoy a wild ride from past to present.
Rus Warriors through the Czars
In 988, the Rus state, centered in Kiev (modern day Ukraine) converted to Christianity; which it adopted from the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire). For this reason, Russia is sometimes referred to as “The Third Rome”. That fusion of Rus, Slavic and Byzantine cultures formed the basis of Russian culture for the next 1000 years.
Kiev Rus ultimately disintegrated as a state because of the brutal Mongol invasion of 1237–1240 and the death of about half the population of Rus. Remnants of the Mongol invasions can still be seen in the faces of some modern day Russians (Tatar Mongol mix).
After the 13th century, Moscow became the cultural center of Russia. By the 18th century, the Tsardom of Russia had become the enormous, resource rich Russian Empire, stretching from the Polish–Lithuanian Union eastward to the Pacific Ocean. The word for king, Tsar, is Russian for Caesar.
Expansion towards the west introduced Russia to Western culture, which, at that time was far more advanced. In the late 1600‟s, Tsar Peter (Peter the Great) led a cultural revolution that replaced some of Russia‟s medieval social and political system with a scientific, Western oriented, system. The Tsarist House of Romanov (which takes its name from the Roman Empire) indirectly traces its lineage back to Peter. The Romanovs will rule Russia until 1918.
The Golden Age of Russian culture and imperialism blossomed under the Reign of Catherine the Great during the late 1700‟s. Catherine presided over the age of the Russian Enlightenment. The Smolny Institute, the first state institution of higher education for women in Europe, was founded by her. Catherine also founded the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Hermitage is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world and has been open to the public since 1852. Its stunning collections, of which only a small part is on display, comprise about three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world.
1: Early Norsemen settle Russia 2: Peter the Great 3: Catherine the Great
During the early 1800’s, Russia repelled Napoleon’s great invasion, a conflict fought over control of Poland and other reasons. Russians were very proud of their victory in the first “Great Patriotic War”. So much so that Tsar Alexander I signed a manifest on Christmas Day in 1812, declaring his intention to build a grand cathedral in honor of Christ the Savior "to signify our gratitude to Divine Providence for saving Russia from the doom that overshadowed Her" and as a memorial to the sacrifices of the Russian people.
The awe inspiring Moscow cathedral took 40 years to build and still more to decorate. Christ the Savior Cathedral holds a special spiritual, cultural, and historic significance for the Russian faithful. Keep this in your memory bank because we will again visit this Cathedral at future points of this narrative.
The great Cathedral as it stood 100 years ago
During the 1850’s there was the Crimean War against Britain, France and the Ottoman Turkish Empire; a war which was imposed upon Russia by the two Western imperial powers. Russia lost that war.
From 1877-1878, Russia fought and won, the Russo-Turkish War. But when Britain’s Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli aggressively injected himself into the peace treaty (Treaty of Berlin), Russia and its Slavic allies in south eastern Europe were forced to accept a ‘raw deal’; a deal so flawed that it would later play a role in the outbreak of World War I (by driving a nasty wedge between Russia and its Austro-Hungarian ally). (1) It’s a fascinating story, but again, it digresses. Just know that the long history of Western powers maneuvering against Russia repeats itself time and again.
During the 1800’s, Britain actually fought two wars in Afghanistan, on Russia’s southern border. The ludicrous pretext for the Anglo-Afghan Wars was to “protect India” from Russia. The real reason was Britain’s desire to compete against Russia for influence in Central Asia. Disraeli once wrote to Queen Victoria of his plan to: “to clear central Asia of Muscovites (Russians) and drive them into the Caspian Sea.” (2)
It should be noted that Benjamin Disraeli was very closely attached to the House of Rothschild (3); the wealthiest family in world history. (4) The Rothschild enmity towards Russia is now 200 years old. As we shall see later on, the anti-Putin Rothschild Banking Dynasty is still working against Russia to this very day.
Waddesdon Manor in England is just one of the many Rothschild estates throughout Europe. Awestruck groupies Warren Buffet and Arnold Swarzenagger visit Lord Jacob Rothschild (right) at his Waddesdon Palace.
In 1881, Tsar Alexander II was assassinated after the 5th attempt on his life. Bomb throwing Red terrorists (Communists / Anarchists) were responsible. The Tsar’s son, Alexander III, and grandson, Nicholas watched the Tsar’s legs get blown off. The resulting anti Red backlash caused many Reds to flee to America. Wonderful!
By 1905, the Reds, partially funded from western sources (long story but true) were strong enough to attempt a violent overthrow of the Tsar. That fateful year also witnessed the bombing assassination of Tsar Nicholas’s uncle, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, and the loss of a war with Japan. During that war, the Japanese received massive financial assistance from Wall Street banker Jacob Schiff, (5) as well as some final diplomatic favoritism from Wall Street’s wholly owned warmonger, President Theodore Roosevelt. (6) (The historical image of a blue blooded TR being the scourge of the Wall Street “Robber Barons” is mythical; as is the image of TR the ‘war hero’.)
After the war, Japan expressed its gratitude to Schiff by awarding him the Order of the Sacred Treasure. In 1907 he was again honored with the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun. Schiff was personally awarded the Order by Emperor Meiji in the Imperial Palace.
Schiff’s support of the Japanese military was not motivated by any special love for Japan, of course. What motivated Schiff was the ongoing mutual animosity between Tsarist Russians and the Jews of Russia; an animosity that was also shared by the House of Rothschild. During the late 1700’s, ancestors of the Schiffs and the Rothschilds had actually shared a double house in Frankfurt, Germany. (7)
Though the Red uprising was finally put down, Russian prestige and position had been weakened, both at home and abroad. Many of the Red terrorists who managed to get out of Russia obtained refuge in Western Europe or America. Leon Trotsky and his gang actually settled in Brooklyn; where they plotted their future return.
In 1911, Russia’s popular reformist Prime Minister, Pyotr Stolypin, was shot to death in the Kiev Opera House; in front of Tsar Nicholas and his two daughters.
1: The Grand Duke was killed by Reds in 1905 2: Jacob Schiff’: His ancestors shared a home with the Rothschilds 2: Prime Minister Stolypin – killed by Reds in 1911
In 1914, Russia, having been cleverly lured into an alliance with new “friends” France and Britain, and seeking to settle old scores with the Ottoman Turks, joined what would soon turn into “World War I”. Unfortunately for Russia, Turkey was party to an alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary (both of which had been Russian allies until British Prime Minister Disraeli caused a ‘divorce’ in 1878) (8). This therefore pitted Russia against Germany and Austria-Hungary in a mutually destructive war that was to soon bring down all three Empires, and Ottoman Turkey too.
An astute intelligent multi-lingual Vladimir Putin as a KGB officer posing as a journalist when Ronald Reagan visited Moscow.
Source: Martin Armstrong
Putin outclasses Obama even on the Worst of Days
For further reading please go to this web site: