Putin’s Little Helpers

Vladimir Putin

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 19, 2016)

We’re all complicit in turning Vladimir Putin the man into Vladimir Putin the myth and the legend.

We’re all guilty, to a degree, of making the Kremlin leader seem omnipotent.

All of us, in one way or another, have turned the leader of a country with a GDP lower than Texas into the master of the universe.

In many ways, we’ve all become Putin’s little helpers.

Some call him the most powerful person in the world.

Others note that not only can he fix elections at home he can also manipulate them abroad.

He’s the master of fake news, disinformation, and malicious cyberattacks.

He’s a cagey operative with networks of influence all over the world.

He’s unpredictable, uninhibited, and at times, he seems a bit unhinged.

But here’s the thing.

For all the Bond villain hype and hyperbole, at the end of the day Putin is the leader of a declining power in the midst of a demographic crisis with a shrinking economy dependent on energy exports.

Time is not on his side.

But for the time being, he’s figured out how to exploit the West’s vulnerabilities and put a magnifying glass on its weaknesses.

He’s waging an international guerrilla war.

And a big weapon in that war has been his ability to get inside our heads.

It’s an ability we’ve all aided and abetted in one way or another.

Article from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – ©2016 RFE/RL, Inc. Article also appeared at rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-putin-not-omnipotent-bond-villain-/28184199.html