Does Russia’s Putin Really Have a Master Plan?

Does Russia’s Putin Really Have a Master Plan?
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Aug. 18, 2018 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been described as the most “powerful” and “influential” man in the world, but do these assessments accurately capture reality? Putin is undoubtedly the most powerful man in Russia, but how much control does he actually have over the country’s bureaucracy? And is there actually a grand strategic vision underpinning his foreign adventurism in Venezuela, Syria and Ukraine?

In this week’s podcast interview, WPR’s associate editor, Elliot Waldman, discusses these questions with Mark Galeotti, an honorary professor at University College London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies and the author of “It’s Time to Talk About Putin: Why the West Gets Him Wrong, and How to Get Him Right.” Galeotti, one of the world’s foremost observers of Russian politics, points out a number of common misperceptions about Putin and explains how he has been so successful in creating an image of himself as a geostrategic chess master.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Popular Discontent Is Rising in Russia, and Putin Doesn’t Have an Answer
Mueller’s Done. Now Can the U.S. Figure Out How to Deal With Russia?
At a Mostly Symbolic Summit, Putin and Kim Play the Long Game
Russian Bombers in Venezuela Raise Cold War 2.0 Fears Across Latin America

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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