I’ve been seeing quite a bit of lionization of Vladimir Putin lately, by a lot of the same people who were up in arms last year about Obama’s hot mic comment to Dmitri Medvedev that he’d have “more flexibility” as regards to giving the Russians what they want (re: missile defense for our allies in Eastern Europe). Some of it can be traced to this, a “letter” published by Breitbart.com. Some of it seems to be little more than cheering on the “enemy of my enemy” by those who really detest Obama.
Objectivity, however, requires that we take another look at Putin, and just who and what he is, and just who and what he’s supporting in the Middle East at the moment. That should put to rest the idea that he is some champion of freedom.
Vladimir Putin got his start as a KGB officer in East Germany. The details of his time there, and what his assignments were, remain secret. There are rumors but not much more than that. Following his tenure with the KGB, he became an up-and-coming bureaucrat until the time an ailing Boris Yeltsin, beleaguered by scandals about the corruption in his administration, as well as vote-fixing to keep Yeltsin in power, appointed him Prime Minister.
Now, the KGB, while immensely powerful, had no political power of its own. Its reins were held tightly by the Central Committee and the Chairman, the de facto dictator of Soviet Russia. Under the senile rule of Leonid Brezhnev, the “Sword and Shield of the Party” began to really chafe about this lack of control, so when Yuri Andropov, the former chief of the KGB, took over the Chairmanship, the KGB began to become more powerful as well. By then, the Soviet Union was already starting to collapse, and though Andropov didn’t last very long before his kidneys failed, the KGB had already started building its alternate structures. There is a considerable body of evidence that this was in fact the birth of the Russian Mafia.