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Is Putin profoundly corrupt or “incorruptible?”

Sharon Tennison recounts her personal experience of and observations about Vladimir Putin

first published in 2014 and first appearing on this site in April 2017, we are re-airing this alternative analysis in the year of the Russian presidential election as being of continuing relevance in the struggle to separate truth from #fakenews. Tennison presents a view of VVP as essentially “incorruptible”. To those who get their information from the mainstream media, and even from many alternative news sites this will seem a slightly incredible idea. Yet Tennison’s opinion is not unsourced or unconsidered. And the numerous claims of Putin’s massive personal wealth and “gangster” mentality remain entirely uncorroborated. Where does the truth lie?

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 on 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

Putin with Anatoly Sobchak, Mayor of St. Petersburg, early 1990s. Putin was one of Sobchak’s deputies from 1992-96

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.


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

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin leaves the Kremlin on the day of his resignation, December 31 1999. Prime Minister Putin (second left) became acting president.

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. [note by OffG – more accurately the oligarchs were required to remain within the law rather than explicitly stay 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).

March 2000

I arrived in St.Petersburg. A Russian friend (a psychologist) since 1983 came for our usual visit. My first question was, “Lena what do you think about your new president?” She laughed and retorted, “Volodya! I went to school with him!

She began to describe Putin as a quiet youngster, poor, fond of martial arts, who stood up for kids being bullied on the playgrounds. She remembered him as a patriotic youth who applied for the KGB prematurely after graduating secondary school (they sent him away and told him to get an education).

He went to law school, later reapplied and was accepted. I must have grimaced at this, because Lena said:

Sharon in those days we all admired the KGB and believed that those who worked there were patriots and were keeping the country safe. We thought it was natural for Volodya to choose this career.

My next question was:

What do you think he will do with Yeltsin’s criminals in the Kremlin?

Putting on her psychologist hat, she pondered and replied:

If left to his normal behaviors, he will watch them for a while to be sure what is going on, then he will throw up some flares to let them know that he is watching. If they don’t respond, he will address them personally, then if the behaviors don’t change–– some will be in prison in a couple of years.

I congratulated her via email when her predictions began to show up in real time.

Throughout the 2000s

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.

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.

Sharon Tennison ran a successful NGO funded by philanthropists, American foundations, USAID and Department of State, designing new programs and refining old ones, and evaluating Russian delegates’ U.S. experiences for over 20 years. Tennison adapted the Marshall Plan Tours from the 40s/50s, and created the Production Enhancement Program (PEP) for Russian entrepreneurs, the largest ever business training program between the U.S. and Russia. Running several large programs concurrently during the 90s and 2000s, funding disappeared shortly after the 2008 financial crisis set in. Tennison still runs an orphanage program in Russia, is President and Founder, Center for Citizen Initiatives, a member of Rotary Club of Palo Alto, California, and author of The Power of Impossible Ideas: Ordinary Citizens’ Extraordinary Efforts to Avert International Crises. The author can be contacted at


    • RFE? We try to avoid citing violently extremist sites from either perspective here.

      Tennison’s website doesn’t mention the incident and she’s been back to Russia several times since, so this obviously wasn’t much of an issue. Though you could email and ask her if you want a more reliable source.

      There’s nothing ‘naive’ about trying to find ways for two nuclear superpowers to avoid confrontation. As many senior diplomats, intelligence operatives and others have said many times – if the relentless demonising and threatening of Russia doesn’t stop we could all find ourselves railroaded in a war that ends life on earth. Not because anyone wants it but because people were too reckless and ignorant to avoid it. Tennison, to her credit, seems to be trying to do something about it.

      I’m not going to be dancing with you on this – so don’t feel offended if I don’t reply. I have a website to run on a staff of two.

    • George Cornell says

      Serves her right? Really? Naïveté is a hanging offense, is that what you want?

      • She wasn’t hanged! There was a visa issue apparently. She is still going back and forth to Russia. Every time Russian authorities take any action at all the West tries to make it seem like a KGB purge! People are pulled in for visa problems in the UK all the time! It’s routine bureaucracy

        • George Cornell says

          Relax Mo, ‘hanging offense’ is a figure of speech. I was responding to the uncharitable comment that getting arrested served her right.

  1. Carrie says

    Not with any intent to disrespect, but this is hilarious, and another example of Volodya being very human!


    [edited by Admin to fix image address]

  2. Matt says

    Excellent article. Written by an American who has known Putin’s character from the early days, and who has worked with NGOs that actually helped Russian society (thus debunking the conspiracy theories that U.S. NGOs are bad for Russia), this is the sort of article I’ve been hoping to find.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Marcus says

    speaking of Putin the man, this video popped up and I’d like to share it. We’re all familiar with the ghastly fake scenes of Obama, Cameron and the rest fake ‘crying’ to order at some scene of public mourning. It’s so fake it’s cringeworthy and shameful.

    So for contrast look at this. It’s not a funeral or any staged mourning, it’s just an official ceremony in Mongolia, but while the Russian national anthem is playing Putin visibly actually weeps.

    If you watch the clip you can see his chest and shoulders heave as he struggles to control it, and his slightly shame-faced attitude, which probably all us blokes can relate to. He seems to be sobbing almost uncontrollably. At one point he wipes his face with the back of his hand.

    It’s touching. And very real and human. It has actually increased my respect for him and my preparedness to think he may be a real person. But that said it seems a quite extreme response. He must have heard his national anthem about once a day for the last 18 years. Bit worrying when a head of state is that tightly wound even if it does humanise him. This was late 2014 by the way.

    • Yes agreed -we will post it in the new Putin section we are running prior to the election

  4. Marcus says

    Since we’re discussing Vlad here, has anyone read the piece on the Saker to mark Putin’s 65th birthday last October? It’s very flowery and a bit too lyrical for me, but pretty true to known facts in its general summary. But this part at the end struck me as a bit obscure. Does anyone know what is being referred to? I presume “war” is being used figuratively as it seems to be throughout the piece. But all this distancing himself from loved ones and being prepared to die – maybe I’m too English. But it what on earth is the writer on about? Unless he’s privy to events that haven’t been made public I don’t see where this fits in with anything on the record. I posted a question on the site but haven’t had a rely as yet. Any thoughts?

    Before the last war, just in case, he was prepared to die.

    He distanced himself from people he loved the most, so they wouldn’t die with him. And, he went to war.

    He dedicated his life to rescue us all.

    He sacrificed himself and pried entire nations out of the Abyss’ jaws.

    • @Marcus. I think I get the drift.
      “Who would the sword of Justice wear
      Should be as holy as severe”.
      It’s a temperament, like the Dark Duke in “Measure for Measure”. Dag Hammarskjoeld had more than a touch of it. Which is why bright-and-breezy Alastair Cooke quipped: What is the difference between Dag Hammarskjoeld and U Nu? Hammarskjoeld has the Oriental mind.

      • Marcus says

        I get that in a generic way. I was just wondering what evidence there might be for his being prepared to die or at risk of death and for “distancing himself from people he loved most” so they wouldn’t die. It sounds a bit extreme and dramatic to a plodding Englishman

  5. Afriend says

    I hope everybody saw that devastating Real News interview where the Putin hating Guardian hack Luke Harding was exposed as an empty smear merchant, well here’s Jimmy & Aaron have a good laugh over it, before going on to comment generally about RussiaGate;

  6. Because of their roles in saving Syria from NATZO’s Daesh terrorist invasion, I have come to regard President Putin as a profoundly religious man along with Dr.Assad and Rev.Nasr’Allah. These men are made of a different metal from the corruptible Pharisees like TB.Liar and GW.Bush who pray ostensibly in public. They are socially conscious builders, and their countries go uphill despite attacks and financial sanctions, while the NATZO countries are going downhill despite 70 years of peace.

    How The Russian Church Influenced Putin To Save Christians in Syria

    And from Ivan Ilyin, recently called “Putin’s Philosopher”: Ilyin’s most personal and spiritual work, The Singing Heart (Поющее сердце), which was first published in 1958 by Ilyin’s widow in München. It is a spiritual, theological, in some cases political, and biographical work which is deeply influenced by the Orthodox and Russian spirits, and in a certain sense, can be considered one of the hidden masterpieces of Russian spiritual prose.

    • Surely you meant mettle and not metal. 🙂

      “Because these two words are homophones — words that sound identical — many people don’t realize they are actually two different words. However, mettle means the stuff one is made of, the strength and quality of one’s character. Metal, as you probably know, is any of a variety of handy substances used to make cars, computer parts, appliances and so on.”

      • @vierotchka. Thank you, I did not know that mettle and metal originally meant the same: the earthy stuff of which someone is made. So I tend to use mettle to denote the spirit; as in mettlesome; and metal as the right stuff eg, Hamlet’s preference for Ophelia, “Here’s metal more attractive”; or the student definition of Geologist: a man who can tell virgin metal from any old ore. Actually, I was comparing the metal of Russian President Putin vs that of UK Prime Minister TB.Liar in the sense of their chemical resistance to tarnishing: gold vs brass.

  7. Harry Stotle says

    The story of the Panama Papers is a fascinating one, looking more and more like the latest installment in the cold war.

    Even so Craig Murray still thinks Putin is ‘bent’ (ie guilty of troughing) but what the Panama Papers reveals about the West is infinitely more interesting than Vladimir Vladimirovich stashing a few million roubles in the банка

    • Unfortunately CM doesn’t say why he believes Putin is bent. Presumably he’s playing the odds and assuming he must be because most politicians are and corruption is so high in Russia. It’s a fair assumption, but it’s not evidence of anything.

      • Afriend says

        CM has said a lot of things about Putin, including, “Putin tried to kill Yuschenko”, & ( in response of the West v Russia), “I believe Putin is the greater evil.’

        He has a search facility on his Blog, just put in Putin to pull-up his Blog Posts, but be aware that sometimes he comments btl also.

    • The Cad says

      Craig sometimes gets carries away with the myth that there are good and bad states. They’re all bad, the only difference is the lies they tell about the people they murder.

      • Even if we accept that myth though, it’s hard to see why Russia would be a “bad” state if any Western power isn’t.

      • Afriend says

        Not if you take him at his word, he claims no animosity towards Russia or Russians, just Putin, whom he demonises almost everytime he mentions him.

    • Marcus says

      Craig Murray is completley discredited IMO. He is the very essence of a gatekeeper, allowing some of the suppressed truth out but making sure the most dangerous parts remain denied a platform.

      He refuses to even discuss 9/11 and endorses 90% of the putin-phobic bullshit in the mainstream media. He just repeats claims such as “Putin tried to poison Yuschenko” as if they were fact and scrubs anyone who demurs. Never posts any evidence.

      If he’s not a gatekeeper he’s a man of very limited intelligence and an arrogant, bigoted outlook. We don’t need people like this even if they do give us the illusion of being on our side – up to a point. At best it’s an ego trip for him. At worst he’s misdirecting energies.

      And I don’t believe in his mythical “team of moderators” who accidentally censor people. I think he knows full well what’s going on and a lot of the time he’s doing it.

      Plus the fawning of his hardcore fans is pretty hard to stomach, but that’s another story.

      • Harry Stotle says

        Murray’s position on Putin/Russia is slightly more nuanced than you suggest – for example, he says, “The neo-imperial ambition of the western powers, and their remorseless pursuit of the neoliberal agenda, has since again isolated Russia from the West, despite the fact that very many (myself included) have been very thankful to Putin for redressing the balance of Western foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, where the USA’s Saudi driven support for Sunni jihadists is barking mad. One result of the neoliberal fury at Putin’s great effectiveness at frustrating their international designs, has been the McCarthy like anti-Russian phobia sweeping the USA. Today is exactly one year since the FBI announced it was investigating Russian “hacking” allegedly to damage neoliberal idol Hillary, and in that twelve months the one thing that is clear is that there is not one single solid bit of evidence to back it up.”

        You are right about Murray’s position on 9/11 which I find baffling – nice take down here

        • Marcus says

          But look at him claiming Russia “invaded” Georgia in 2008, and taking it as read that Putin personally orders every suspicious death that occurs in Russia. And his ridiculous claims that Putin is a threat to the former Soviet republics.

          This is the worst and most ignorant type of Russophobia and Murray rehearses it in his own blog!

        • Afriend says

          Murray has toned-down a lot of his Russo-phobic sentiments lately, especially as he’s caught-up in RussiaGate via his involvement with Wikileakes; nervertheless he still occasionally comes out with the nonsense that Russia is an aggressive empire, holding down it’s former eastern provinces, and forever looking to expand. Likewise he has somewhat curtail his once previous frequent personal barbs & smears against Putin. However you only have to read his Blog Posts at the time of the Ukraine coup, to realise just how anti-Russian/Putin he really is, which included such low points as claiming that the victims of the Odessa Massacre (whom he wrongly predicted would hardly include any women or children), were kill by Russian thugs personally over sent by Putin ! Of course he also blamed the whole crisis on Putin, and stated that Russia had/has “invaded” the Crimea, etc.

          • Harry Stotle says

            The list of people, countries, or regimes disparaged by Murray is a long one, so its hardly surprising Russia appears on the list from time to time.

            But getting back to the original point – Murray expressed certain opinions about Putin following revelations in the Panama Papers.

            This raises questions about whether or not the Panama Papers might be true (mostly), or if are they mainly bullshit, in other words a phoney story invented by the media?
            So far Murray has focused on the highly selective nature of media reporting (see RT interview) since its impossible to escape the fact the finger has been pointed at the likes of Putin but few if any corrupt political or financial figures in the west.

            As you know Murray was stationed in Uzbekistan and maybe this country’s dealings with Russia has coloured some of the opinions he subsequently developed about the relationship between Russia and neighbouring states?

              • Afriend says

                Apparent three friends of his are, but not him. Good enough for the guilt by association crowd it seems !

              • Harry Stotle says

                No, not directly (AFAIK) – as Afriend says (below) links are by association.

                The allegations are;
                According to analysis, as much as $2 billion has been secretly shuffled through banks and shadow companies linked to Putin’s associates.
                Bank Rossiya, identified by the U.S. as Putin’s personal cashbox, has been instrumental in building a network of offshore companies.
                Dozens of loans, some worth hundreds of millions of dollars, sold between offshore companies for as little as $1 or less.

                • Jen says

                  One does smell a rat when a bank is described as a “personal cashbox” for a politician who leads a country seen by the US government as a major geopolitical rival.

                  The ICIJ report makes allegations, true, but can’t make them stick.

                  The one thing that does stick (in some people’s craws, maybe) is the fact that the ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) is based in Washington DC and is funded by, among others, the Ford Foundation, the Omidyar Network and the Open Society Foundations (George Soros’ pet philanthropic project).

                  • Harry Stotle says

                    Of course you have nailed the bigger problem – trying to find a source that is not hopelessly tainted by its own agenda.

                    Personally I think bias is a universal problem.

                    For example here is the BEEBs account of Putins wealth.
                    It may contain some truths but the west’s anti-Russian agenda means a huge dose of salt is required before viewing.

                    The good thing is bloggers and sites like Off-G keep us all on our toes.

                    • Marcus says

                      I actually watched that video last night and posted a link here! I also commented on the channel thus – “There is literally not one fragment of proof offered here for ANY of the allegations of corruption. I’m not a Putin-fan but seriously – come on! This is bad!”

                      When you say ‘it may contain some truths’ – which part of the program are you talking about? The completely unsubstantiated rumour that Putin has shares in Rosneft? Or the completely unsubstantiated rumour he has a big yacht? or the completely unsubstantiated rumour that he owns that huge palace? Where are the facts? I come to this site because it respects a level of truth we are fast forgetting is necessary. Evidence isn’t some chap saying “this is evidence, “ for God’s sake.

                    • But you agree that an absence of evidence isn’t a reason for accepting rumour and assumption as fact.

                    • Harry Stotle says

                      ‘But you agree that an absence of evidence isn’t a reason for accepting rumour and assumption as fact’ – well, I’ve said what I believe, which is that Putin is probably worth a bit more than his official salary.

                      Reuters have made claims about vast wealth acquired by his daughter.

                      While Russian media have reported on Putin’s penchent for expensive time pieces, i.e. a A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual ‘Pour Le Mérite watch,’ apparently worth a cool half million dollars.

                      Wealth is intrexicably linked to status and power, so even if ‘on paper’ Putin appears to be worth very little, the nice suits, expensive watches and comfortable lifestyle tells us his quality of life is much better than that of most Russian citizens.

                      That doesn’t make western imperialism any less toxic or Putins leadership qualities any less effective but I think on the balance of probabilities he is at least pretty well off.

                    • It’s not that we disagree with you. It’s that we want to steer the conversation away from assumptions and toward facts. If the current fact is that no evidence for VVP’s corruption has been produced then this is what we should lead with – otherwise what are we doing?

                  • Thomas Peterson says

                    how would a bank function as a personal cashbox and stay in business?

                    a snappy phrase that makes no sense

                  • George Cornell says

                    This sounds like a classic scam. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists sounds like a Consortium of Cats, herded by the common goal of combatting Washington-uncomfortable embarrassments which might pop up from time to time. It is like the UK “inquiry”, a la Blair.

                    There is plenty of American embarrassment to spread around, so let’s see some non-partisan Washington-unfriendly exposures. Something other than the well-deserved Trump stomping.

            • Afriend says

              I’ve followed the Murray Blog for over a decade now, and when I say he has a particular fixation with Russia, I use the word fixation carefully as it’s exactly the right word.

              Whetever this is due to his Uzbekistan experience, or due to his cold-war FCO background, or just plain old bigotry, it’s hard to ascertain.

  8. Marcus says

    I’m interested in an exploration of him as a human being. His ethics, or lack of ethics. His belief systems.

    His is a very strange and unusual story. From total obscurity to overnight power. Rich with the possibility he might really be that one in a billion thing – a decent politician. Or are we being scammed? Is he just better at keeping his billions and his mistresses hidden than most of them are?

    • Mixasik says

      You really think its possible to hide anything nowadays? Wealth is not measured in paper money, wealth is measured in power, and that he got plenty and not even trying to hide )))

      • Marcus says

        No, wealth is measured in money. Power is measured in power.

        It’s not difficult.

  9. Manda says

    Thanks for bringing this piece to the top. I looked for it a few weeks ago and couldn’t find it.

  10. Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Ecuador are the only countries in the World to stand up to Americas self-appointed right to kill anybody, anywhere, anyway they see fit. The rest of Americas Puppets lick it`s arse with fake orgasms. That’s why Putin etc get demonised and fitted up for fake,false flag attacks in the “Western” media. The last time the UK said NO to Uncle Sam was in 1965 when UK PM Harold Wilson refused to send British Troops to Vietnam.

  11. Ron says

    No mention of how the “incorruptible” Putin became one of the richest men in Russia. And he was never a business man for a single day in his life!

    • Is there any evidence to support the allegation of Putin’s wealth? We have been looking for some data, but haven’t found anything yet beyond the “a friend told a friend he was massively rich” type of innuendo. If you have a good source please let us know.

    • Sorry, Not Buying It says

      Please take those stories with a grain of salt. Even though Putin is indeed the capitalist chieftain of the Russian state/national bourgeoisie, it doesn’t mean that accounts of “his billions” are anything other than propaganda aimed at propping up US efforts to encircle and intimidate Russia. Putin is obviously not “incorruptible”; no capitalist ideologue can be. But he is certainly not open to selling out his country to US imperialism, which is the reason that the US media apparatus demonizes him in the way that they do. Whether or not Putin does any of the bad things ascribed to him, it’s a certainty that he’s going to be accused of such given his opposition to US imperial designs.

    • George Cornell says

      So put up or scatter in the light Ron. Regurgitating Faux news propaganda just doesn’t cut it here.

    • Rhisiart Gwilym says

      You and Sibel Edmonds, Ron. Evidence? Any smidgeon at all…? No, thought not.

  12. Sorry, Not Buying It says

    Opposition to US imperialism and provocation against Russia, and solidarity with the people of Russia to defend themselves against said imperialism, should not lead the international (or Russian) working class to view Putin as their “comrade”. Russia today is itself a capitalist-imperialist power with Putin as its chieftain. Just like the US, it is also imbued with big power national chauvinism. It is also imbued with ugly macho posturing, heterosexual supremacism and gay-baiting, “traditionalist” tendencies (i.e. male chauvinism and social conservatism), promotion of religious themes and “morals”, and military pornography (worship of the military and its showcase of fancy new weapons, wrapped up in pride for “Russian engineering prowess”). These are all poisonous, regressive tendencies that Putin cultivates, or at least fails to oppose, because he knows that the success of forging his “new Russia” (which looks very much like the old Russia before 1917) relies upon riding the wave of these reactionary motifs. The social and class character of Russia he is trying to build is not anything that true progressives should want to emulate. Russia is one of the most unequal societies in the world. Capitalist-state formations, corrupt managers and bureaucrats and criminal mafias define its economic structure. Even if Putin manages to open up more of the benefits so that they trickle down to average Russians, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that Russia is still run in the interests of the Russian national bourgeoisie. It is committed to an extractivist development model, and the interests of smaller nations (including those within the Russian Federation) must inevitably be pushed to the side as Russia behaves more like a big power chauvinist and imperialist.

    This is not to say that there are not progressive elements in Russia’s actions (helping to defend Syria against Western imperialist proxy war, for example), but Russia undoubtedly has its own “strategic interests” in such calculations. Russia is not a socialist state by any stretch of the imagination; it is a capitalist one with elements of feudalism.

    • aaronmicalowe says

      Written better than the article.

      We need to stop worshipping one “side” over the other, take politics out of it altogether and recognise the common issues.

      • Sorry, Not Buying it says

        “take politics out of it altogether”

        Wrong. We need consciously class-based politics, the most SERIOUS politics. As Mao said: “Put politics in command.”

          • Sorry, Not Buying It says

            Your question is totally irrelevant. The real issue is that without class based politics, the working class, in Russia, the US or anywhere has nothing. The masses need revolutionary politics, not the junk politics they’re fed every day.

            • Since I’m not brainwashed by political obsessives I have a fresher approach. No doubt if I kept reading up on “good practices” I’d end up losing all perspective on what is real.

              Is it possible for you to express what you’re saying using real world examples rather than relying too heavily on arty farty concepts?

              • Sorry, Not Buying It says

                Ironically, you can’t do anything even approaching that. You can only invoke the arty-farty concept of “ditching politics altogether” – whatever that means.

                The world’s masses don’t have the luxury of philosophical-idealist claptrap. They have to get serious about wielding concrete political power for themselves, at the expense of the exploiting classes.

                • Rhisiart Gwilym says

                  The basic difference between your stance and Putin’s, Sorry, not… is that he operates in the real world, rather than the armchair theoretician’s, and deals with real human psychology, sometimes lamentable though they may both be. Idealist Marxist doctrine-thumping is no substitute (much as I admire Karl).

    • The Cad says

      He’s in the same boat as anyone resistant to the US empire – have military forces capable of inflicting considerable casualties on the US head-chopping, heart-eating rapers or go under. It was the same for Lenin and Stalin, not because they were ex- or fake-bolsheviks but because no state can exist as an independent entity without the means to kill lots of Americans. Of course the Russian state is a version of the US but that’s because states are generic, fascist entities. I support Putin because I want to see the Washington barbarians humbled before I die, not because I think that Russia and China are fundamentally different.

    • Sorry, Not Buying It,
      You’ve pretty much described half the countries “governments” in the world. Do you think that the UK and it’s cronyism and right wing neoliberalist elitists says something far removed from how you described “Putin’s” Russia? Sorry, not buying it. That’s not to say that you misrepresent “Putin’s” or “Yeltsin’s” or “Gorbachev’s” Russia entirely, but a little parity goes a long way. Judging by the way many so-called socialist and “lefties” jump on the pro-US interventionist and regime change Foreign Policy bandwagon, I’m not entirely sure quite who represents the “working class” anymore. For that matter, is their a global standard for “working class” and if so, what is it and where might we find an example?

      • @ Mohandeer,

        “Do you think that the UK and it’s cronyism and right wing neoliberalist elitists says something far removed from how you described “Putin’s” Russia?”

        I think that there is an enormous difference, Susan. The neoliberal elitists would have you believe that in moral terms, they stand head and shoulders above Putin. They don’t. And this despite that Putin may be, as an individual, highly principled and that he may privately care deeply about what happens to ordinary people, be they Russian or whatever.

        What SNBI is reminding us about is that Russia is a capitalist society, that is to say, a CLASS divided society, as indeed are all others currently in existence, since not a single one doesn’t operate on the principle of capital accumulation, that is to say, in accordance with the profit motive, the exploitation of the vast majority by a tiny minority through the enforced mechanism of permanent expropriation that we call ‘private property,’ or what Marxists quaintly refer to as “ownership in the means of production and distribution.”

        Consequently, if it’s true that Russia is capitalist and that the presidency occupied by Putin is effectively that of the CEO of the capitalist class, and not that of the working class, then the primary interests he is institutionally (and legally!) constrained to serve are those, not of ordinary people, but of the Russian oligarchy, a social class of power elites that only exists by virtue of being in a position to collectively exploit the vast majority of ordinary and economically destitute Russians.

        In my opinion, SNBI has it about right: “Russia is not a socialist state by any stretch of the imagination; it is a capitalist one with elements of feudalism.”

        A working class schmuck such as myself, whether in Russia or Canada or anywhere else, would do well to keep this in mind, lest one becomes overly confused about where one’s fundamental class (and therefore political) loyalties should lie.

        Putin may be in fundamental moral terms a “good” person. As president of Russia, he is pledged to serve Russian capitalist interests above all others.

        • Consequently, if it’s true that Russia is capitalist and that the presidency occupied by Putin is effectively that of the CEO of the capitalist class, and not that of the working class, then the primary interests he is institutionally (and legally!) constrained to serve are those, not of ordinary people, but of the Russian oligarchy, a social class of power elites that only exists by virtue of being in a position to collectively exploit the vast majority of ordinary and economically destitute Russians.

          Have you ever been to Russia and talked with Russians? I doubt it, and I think you ought to do so instead of jumping to conclusions.

          [edited by Admin to fix coding; note to commenters – the html needs to be inside angle brackets NOT square brackets]

            • Franziska says

              Russia is capitalist but not neoliberal or austerity capitalist. It is a welfare state. Free healthcare. And the policy has been to redistribute the wealth downward for the past 18 years of Putin. Compared to the West there is decent support for the poor and working people and the policy of social support which everyone had in the West 40 years ago is not banished.

              This is why the IMF hates Russia.

              • Well and fine. A welfare state is still a capitalist state. Since you cannot have capitalism without exploitation, Russia, whether a welfare state or not, remains a society that is exploitative, no?

        • MLS says

          Where do you see the elements of feudalism in Russian society? I’m not challenging you, I don’t know enough about Russia to have an opinion, I’m just interested to hear more

          • The element of religion, or religious orthodoxy, in the national zeitgeist, as well as the associated and culturally influential institutions of the church, that is to say, influential in a politically conservative direction. The same element is alive and well in the United States and in any other country in which religion figures prominently as part of the national culture. I can’t see what else SNBI would have in mind.

            As for my self, the more prominent and significant feature of Russian society — as of the entire world, actually — is its capitalist character.

              • Thank you for your insightful one liner replies, vierotchka.

                So, according to you, my first comment to Mohandeer was without justification and clearly showed that I had never either been to Russia or spoken with any ordinary Russians.

                But what was the nub of my reply to Mohandeer, vierotchka? Merely this: that Russia is a capitalist and that consequently the presidency of Russia is a capitalist presidency.

                Obviously if that was the nub of my assertion and you objected to it without putting into words the gist of your objection, a reasonable person could only presume you might doubt that Russia was a capitalist state. Hence my first question to you that you declared to be a “strawman.”

                In what sense was my question a “stawman?” Or are you incapable of any elaboration beyond emotional ejaculation, vierotchka?

                And now I get a third penetrating reply from you, vierotchka, presumably a Russian who could enlighten us about Russia, but one who prefers instead to express disdain at our apparent and uncouth ignorance.

                What? Does religion have no place in the lives of any substantial proportion of the Russian population? Are all Russians atheists? Or is it that you don’t like the characterization of religion as a hangover from a feudal past? What do you have in mind, vierotchka? What is ridiculous about the claims that “religion in Russia is culturally influential and that in its organized forms is a feudalistic legacy?”

                Or are you merely reacting at a purely emotional level at something that to you smells of petulant ‘criticism’ of Russian society? Is Russia, then, to your mind, beyond criticism? Or is criticism of Russia something that only Russians are entitled to make? If so, doesn’t this smack just a little of something that goes by the name of chauvinism? Or maybe there is no such thing as Russian chauvinism, eh, vierotchka?

                Surely you can do a bit better than spout one line insults?

  13. Thank you Sharon. You’ve written an excellent piece I can forward to friends who have unthinkingly adopted the Russia demonization presented endlessly by western governments and their media. I look forward to checking out your book.
    As a few in the comments have noted, those of us who seek out for ourselves a better understanding of what’s happening in the world share some degree of high regard for Mr. Putin, regardless of where we find ourselves on the political spectrum. I am dismayed and perplexed, though, to see so many on the so-called left of the spectrum join in the chorus of demonization — and have been repeatedly surprised to find folks on the right voicing their support of and comfort in Putin’s intelligent, canny and cautious leadership through treacherous waters. Perhaps the political axis is shifting away from a now meaningless left-to-right and toward a spectrum of common sense/informed-to-complacent/uninformed.
    Weighing in on the philosophical argument that seems to have hijacked the thread: Of course all humans are, in potential, corruptible: we have free will and constantly make choices small and large. While many (and most people in the heights of government and business) base their choices on self-interest, money and power, there are also those who choose, as best they can, to seek and speak the truth, to serve the common interests.
    These people are quieter and fewer, but if you count yourselves among them, it’s important to speak up and stand up for truth and our shared interests — now more than ever.
    The truth needs champions, brave and steadfast. The uninformed need greater access to wider and varied perspectives. The future of our world is in the balance.

    • George Cornell says

      I think blaming “Western governments” is too broad. What you really mean is the US. The nonsensical hysterical attempt to smear Trump and his allies with the stories about Russian meetings and collaborations seems to overlook the possibility that meeting and collaborating with the Russians might be a good thing.

      But the American need for scapegoating and the evil forces obsessed with increasing the defense budget (really an offense budget) have interacted to tirelessly promote the ‘Russia bad America good’ delusion.

      Trump has shown himself quite capable of discrediting himself, his supporters and his country without having to resort to making up stuff about the Russians.

  14. It’s impossible to be an apologist for somebody who has little or nothing to apologise for. Putin’s the sole adult in a room full of petulant, spoiled seven-year-olds with ADHD.

  15. greg bacon,

    if you are silly enough to attempt to accept money(bribe) over the i/net well there are places for people like you; they are called lunatic asylums, and then to public announce your lunacy is worse, silly bugger. and your mate who got 1/26th of a pint of beer, is pulling your leg!

    to me putin is a man of integrity and deserves total support of westerners, though not their ‘governments’, who are a collection of parasites and hitmen who try to win popularity polls every few years then fall into line with every other government which bows down to the rothschilds etc. including our oz ‘government’, a mere puppet of u.s.a. just plain ‘suckups’. cheers from land of oz.

  16. to keep to the point, vladimer putin is doing his job as best he can. i don’t know if i could put up with the m.s.m. sniping and debasement of my actions or character. and remember that we only get ‘our side’ of the story from our media. we are naturally 100% right and the russians are 100% wrong. so there! that is so much b.s. nobody or anything is 100% right about anything. i am so glad that putin doesn’t tolerate same sex marriage and is concerned with building his country. the kerch bridge is an outstanding achievement. 19kms of high tensile crossing from russia to ukraine at the entry to the sea of azov. trouble is too many americans cannot conceive anything good about russia.

  17. Why the US powers that be are so down on Putin, and Russia? Sharon Tennison’s employment of the psychological principle of transference is very suggestive. Personally I tend to analyze these things more from the viewpoint of geopolitics.
    The USA inherited the hatred of Russia from the British, along with their imperial primacy. Britain is an island, and it had a sea-based empire. The US is even further separated from the world’s great continents. Russia is the huge land mass that crosses 11 times zones. It has always been the top rival to beat.
    It’s just rivalry and desire for hegemony. The US elites are envious and arrogant, they want all nations to be their playpen. There is no interest in the four principles of fair play, at all. Goodwill, and Will it be Beneficial for All Concerned? No way.
    They think it’s a zero sum game — Which is just sadism masquerading as rationality. And that’s why within the USA itself, inequality and injustice keeps increasing — while Russia keeps advancing. That’s why some Americans have enough sense to wish Putin was their President!

  18. Edmund says

    Thanks Sharon for a different perspective on Putin and Russia. For me whether Putin is corruptable or not is not the big issue. The big issue is what has he done for his people. From what I have learned over the years is that Putin has given his people one huge gift, Stability. He has stabilized the country and reoriented the machinery of government to be more effective so as to make the life of the average Russian better than in the crazy “happy” days of Yeltsin that the West so loved. The Western elites would love to big Russia down to where they have brought down Libya and Iraq. There is only one problem to make that wish a reality, Putin.

    • Ron says

      Sure the economy is stable…kind of. But there was no mention of Putins corrupt tenure as city manager in St. Petersburg was there? Not a note as to how Putin became president. He didn’t jut materialize in Moscow did he? Nope. No mention of Putin and the KGB in the apartment bombings and the apprehension of the Chechnyan “bombers”. Not a mention of Putins shenanigans. The writer is either totally un-informed, or she is working directly for Putin himself.

      • Again – are there sources of hard evidence about these things? We see the same claims very often, but the data to back them up is not easy to find.

      • Sorry, Not Buying It says

        In Russia, they have a saying that goes along the lines of, “Under Yeltsin, we had monstrous, out of control corruption. Under Putin, it’s back to normal corruption.” While Westerners whine about “Putin the dictator”, in Russia, it does make a tangible difference to ordinary Russians that they at least have a leader who is willing to crack down on corrupt elements (at least from time to time). Under the Western-loved Yeltsin, the economy was in utter shambles, oligarchs were out of control and neo-liberal “shock therapy” was the officially prescribed “solution” to the problems facing the country. As one Russian analyst has said, Russians experienced a lot of shock from Yeltsin’s policies, but are still waiting for the therapy. Putin decided to do away with allowing Russia to become the handmaiden of IMF patsies and to follow an independent development path instead, with strategic control/direction of resources in the hands of the Russian state. THIS is the reason that the US media can’t stop crying about and stamping its feet like a petulant child at Putin; it has nothing whatsoever to do with Putin’s human and civil rights violations (whatever the truth about them), which act merely as a pretext and pale in comparison to those of US proxies and clients like Israel and Saudi Arabia, the US-backed “rebels” (terrorists and jihadis) in Syria, or dozens of dictatorships throughout Africa and the Middle East.

        Having said all that, Putin is NOT the comrade of the Russian masses. He is a representative of the Russian national bourgeoisie, and as such, is necessarily an agent of exploitation and class oppression (just like Trump, Obama or any other capitalist chieftain at the helm of the capitalist state). What gets the US imperialists and their media hot under the collar is that Putin has locked THEM out of exploiting Russia for themselves, which is why American audiences are treated to an endless barrage of sob stories (sob stories from the point of view of the true interests of US imperialist capital) about Putin’s crimes, Russian “aggression” in Syria and its takeover of the Crimea. They can’t STAND that someone has defied US power and the freedom of action that the US should somehow divinely afforded. This is exactly the same reason behind the demonization of China, another strategic rival to US imperialism.

  19. bogomil says

    As a Renaissance Man, it is safe to say that Mr Putin is the complete package..
    Only the Five Eyes +2 media could hope to display it otherwise.

  20. flybow says

    Putin is as trustworthy as our own leaders in the UK. They all lie.

    • Manda says

      I have to say that Putin stands head and shoulders above any of our western or allied leaders in my eyes, as a leader and statesman.

      Look what we have… Trump, May+ Johnson+ Fallon+ Ryecroft and Hollande etc. I am horrified to say I feel embarrassment and a growing gut feeling of dread.

      • Manda says

        To add, for anyone who hasn’t seen it, Putin’s keynote speech at the 2007 at the Munich Security Conference.

        His mammoth yearly Q & A sessions are also worth seeking out or looking out for. They are usually in April but this years is delayed but apparently to be before August.

        • Edmund says

          Yes, that speech was an eye opener for me regarding Putin and who the people sitting in front of him were. Only a closed propagandaized mind would not get the message that Putin was delivering that day to the West. Wow to those that do not understand it.

    • flybow. Most politicians lie, but not all. You are so used to deceit and dishonesty as represented by government officials (and their fawning MSM), it is difficult for you (and most of us living among the crooked politics of the west) to identify honesty, but it is there. Wedgy Benn was much loved because he was perceived as incorruptible and the Bolsover Beast is feared for the same reason. People liked them and that made all the dishonest politicians nervous, because their own corruption was that much more obvious in the company of such stalwarts of integrity and honesty. It’s the main reason why the right wing of the British Labour Party and the MSM has demonized Jeremy Corbyn, he was a threat to their scheming and machinations. Men like Putin are a threat to the politico precisely because he is perceived in Russia as incorruptible and that makes him very powerful. Tulsi Gabbard is now under attack because she also has been viewed as an honest and principled woman and any members of congress or the senate who stand with her, will also come under attack, simply because anyone considered incorruptible poses a threat to the lying majority. People will believe what Tulsi has to say – the last thing the Deep State wants.
      Why is the notion that Putin is exactly what Tennison described so impossible for you to accept? Because he is Russian? Because he is what so many others would wish to be but are not?

    • My rule with politicians is watch what they do, not what they say.

      On that basis Putin is the night & day / black & white polar opposite to the Western puppet politicians who are 99% prostitute mouthpieces of the highest payer.

    • Enough is enough says

      UK and US so-called ‘leaders’cannot graduate from the kindergarden. Putin is a great statesman, in a higher league entirely; and lest we forget – nobody is perfect!

  21. Manda says

    Thank you offguardian for posting this, I doubt I would have had the pleasure of reading it otherwise. Thank you Sharon Tennison for this essay. The picture your essay paints of Putin fits with the one I have formed of him and what he has achieved for Russia and Russians.

    • Paul baker says

      I have been struck by the big disparity between official mainstream media and what readers actually believe. Mail online provides a Comment site that is by all accounts the biggest in the world. You are able to see what comments are most popular through a system of green or red flags, approving or disapproving. Of course there is no pretence this is in any way a scientific method of assessing public opinion, not least because the Mail is regarded as Rightwing and many liberals would never deign to even open it. So the reaction to Putin are even more remarkable. Starting with the Ukrainian Crisis of 2014 has been strong but when he entered the war in Syria it rose to the point where thousands of readers were tickin up comments like “thank God for Putin”. It’s no exaggeration to say he was a hero, certainly with Mail readers; the “only one prepared to fight jihad”. More recently there has been overwhelming support for “Assad didn’t do it; that’s obvious!It’s illuminating.

      • Manda says

        I have only visited the mail via links and always find the comments fascinating and not at all what I expected, many ‘switched on’ and dissenting commentators on various hot topics.

          • Paolo says

            aaronmicalowe, I think you mean the guardian, which is why we are here. Just drop the word becoming.

              • Jen says

                Excuse me but why are you coming here as aaronmicalowe and Aaron Lowe? Using two names to flood this comments forums with repetitive remarks about censorship (actual or supposed) at Off-Guardian and banal observations about human nature that divert people’s attention away from the issue and keep them going round and round in circles arguing fruitlessly with you, smacks of deliberate trolling.

                • aaronmicalowe says

                  They are both the same person. Sometimes I log on via facebook and sometimes via off graun. I don’t get to choose which name is displayed.

                  I have pointed out off graun censorship twice. Hardly repetitive.

                  If I do repeat myself it’s because the message isn’t getting through and I haven’t given up expressing myself. I don’t apologise for expressing myself as that is part of a free society. I don’t attempt to shut down others expression.

                  I pointed out a simple fundamental truth. The continued replies that attack me, like accusing me of trolling, are attempts to distract people away from the article above and in themselves are trolling.

                  • We don’t censor. As you can plainly see since every one of your comments is still here.

                    We are receiving complaints that you are trolling though. So try to be less repetitive, combative and inaccurate in your claims.

                    • aaronmicalowe says

                      Admin, stop trolling. If I want to express a view I can. I treat people with far more respect than others do.

                  • Jen says

                    Your message gets through all right but because it is phrased in a way that can neither be proved nor disproved, you can keep people locked into arguing with you. All you have to do is to keep repeating your original message and have the satisfaction of seeing others batter themselves into exhaustion against this so-called “fundamental truth” which does nothing to advance the discussion on this comments thread. What you are doing is a very deceitful form of trolling.

                    There has been no censorship of your comments or of any other person’s comments in reply to you.

                    • aaronmicalowe says

                      Admin is threatening to censor me for the third time. If my account gets deleted I bet you won’t question why.

              • Jen says

                Aaron, the more you complain about being “censored”, even though no-one is censoring you or has made any suggestion to censor you, the sillier and more immature you look to the rest of us.

                  • George Cornell says

                    Yes Aaron, and spend more time on spellcheck and less on imagining censorship, warranted though it may be.
                    “Unfortunally” and “parady”? Really?

                    • Rhisiart Gwilym says

                      I have a very useful – at least to me – principle for dealing with people who appear to be repeat-trolling wholly unsubstantiated accusations, or otherwise behaving objectionably with fanatical determination.

                      I acronym the principle as ‘DR.DADE’: ‘Don’t Read, Don’t Answer, Don’t Engage.’

                      You have to do a bit of following of a candidate for possible dading first, to assure yourself that they really deserve the good doctor’s treatment. But after that it becomes blithely easy to skip past their posts as soon as you see the name. Your very own personal censorship-of-idiot-trolls system. Great for piece of mind, and for sticking with the substantive matters. It also saves the site-owners from having to do the tricky business of ‘moderation’ – which is simply the current preferred euphemism for censorship. I think Off-Graun makes a pretty good, tolerant job of this.

  22. That Putin is a sneaky Rooskie, I know that from personal experience.. In the Fall of 2016, Putin himself called me and promised to pay me a billion if I’d vote for Trump. I agreed and sent the Russian Embassy a pic of my vote, then sat back and counted all the things I’d buy and do with my billion.
    The letter from Putin finally arrived and the billion was in Zimbabwe money, meaning it’s worth less than ONE CENT.


    • He did exactly the same thing with me, bastard. So this is the way he secretly controle all governments.
      Another day he came into my pub, went up to the bartender and said loudly, “I give a pint of lager to everybody here in the Pub”.
      26 people including myself went up to the bartender awaiting our pint.
      Then Putin said to the bartender, “please give the people 26 beer glass and 1 pint of lager”. Then he was laughing his arse out.
      I mean, you cant treat people like that, 1 pint to 26 people.

      • You and Greg been waiting long to pass on those two gems? Heard the one about Merkel, Putin and Hollande? I guess not, I don’t speak German/Russia or French either! You two lads got any more?

    • That’s quite a composition of very good information – didn’t know about JP being blocked at all. Shall copy and paste your response for future reference. The point about Tennison and USAID is that we know USAID would not entertain a piece NOT demonizing Russia and particularly Putin, means that she is one of the good guys in daring to write an opinion piece such as this. I think she has just committed career suicide, just as surely as the German Minister speaking out against the anti Assad/Putin propaganda will soon see his political career come to an abrupt end.
      Still somewhat amazed at how you managed to tie in all these facts but am very glad you did.

  23. John says

    I think western impressions of Putin have been affected by his involvement with motor cycle gangs, neo-nazi movements, anti-gay measures, Pussy Riot, arbitrary imprisonment of some business figures and unexplained deaths of others, his total domination of the mass media in Russia, the greater privileges being extended to the Russian Orthodox Church and the crackdown on non-nationalist churches and religions, and involvement of Russian “volunteers” in Ukraine – all apparently sanctioned officially.
    The revelations of official state-sanctioned cheating of athletes and possible bribing of Olympic officials and FIFA officials has also contributed towards a negative impression of Russia and Putin.
    The deaths of opposition politicians and journalists has also contributed towards a negative impression of Putin.
    Putin may well be non-corrupt as he may find wielding the enormous amount of power he possesses make him operate beyond where bribery and corruption has little or no effect.
    However, the absence of any real democracy in Russia makes it difficult to treat him as just another European or Euro-Asian leader.

    • Admin says

      John – you are concern trolling and doing it repeatedly and very VERY badly 🙂 – please stop, it’s silly and transparent

      • John says

        I am only offering an explanation as to why the western populace has the perception it has of Putin.
        These impressions have been created over a number of years by the western media.
        No one is perfect – and that includes Putin.
        However, neither are most other political leaders.
        Ultimately, all human beings have their weaknesses – and that includes Putin.
        That is all I am saying.
        I do not attack him or try to hold him to any super-human standards of behaviour or conduct.
        I wish him and the Russian people well – my nephew is married to a Russian woman.
        I don’t want her or her family members in Russia upset unnecessarily.

        • Jen says

          You don’t offer any evidence that Vladimir Putin has had any associations with neo-Nazi gangs or with anti-gay campaigns or the people connected to them, that he has persecuted religious faiths other than Russian Orthodoxy, that he is linked to the deaths of Alexander Litvinenko or Sergei Magnitsky among others, or that he is supplying troops and military materiel to rebels in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

          All these assertions have come from mainstream corporate Western media outlets which repeat one another without checking the sources from which these stories originate and the reliability of these sources.

          At least the author of the article which Off-Guardian has posted has worked in Russia and worked with people who have had dealings with Vladimir Putin in the past when he worked for Anatoly Sobchak in St Petersburg city government. So Tennison probably has a better understanding of the kind of man Putin is than even most people living in Russia do, let alone the rest of us.

          Saying that no-one is incorruptible is neither here nor there: it does not advance the discussion much at all, and repeating it becomes sheer banality.

        • That’s more like the JOHN I’ve come to respect. I only wish you had made clear your approach from the outset. Playing devil’s advocate can often lead to misunderstanding and you are of course, entitled to your opinion and you are usually open minded and fair, so quite a divergence for you.

    • bevin says

      John, you appear to be completely uncritical of the allegations and outright smears aimed at Putin.
      “…his involvement with motor cycle gangs, neo-nazi movements, anti-gay measures, Pussy Riot, arbitrary imprisonment of some business figures and unexplained deaths of others, his total domination of the mass media in Russia, the greater privileges being extended to the Russian Orthodox Church and the crackdown on non-nationalist churches and religions, and involvement of Russian “volunteers” in Ukraine – all apparently sanctioned officially.
      “The revelations of official state-sanctioned cheating of athletes and possible bribing of Olympic officials and FIFA officials has also contributed towards a negative impression of Russia and Putin.
      “The deaths of opposition politicians and journalists has also contributed towards a negative impression of Putin…”
      There is nothing on this laundry list of charges and smears which appears to have any merit.
      Is Putin responsible for the deaths of opposition figures and journalists? Not that I know of, no evidence has been adduced of his being responsible for either.
      Charges of doping and bribery regarding the Olympics and FIFA may or may not be groundless. One thing is certain-the World Cup isn’t going to Qatar because it was their turn.
      As to neo-nazi gangs, he certainly doesn;’t support those that The Guardian and HMG sponsor in Ukraine, where, it is true Russian volunteers are protecting people against neo-nazi death squads. It would be news to Putin that he dominates the mass media in Russia, in fact he has much less support in it than, for example, the US government gets in the north American media.
      As to ‘anti-gay’ measures, Russian laws against sexual congress with minors are often so described but they differ little from those elsewhere.
      Pussy Riot? Are you joking? Take their theatre to any Cathedral in Europe and see what the law will do to you.
      Arbitrary arrests of businessmen? Is this a reference to Khodorkovsky and other tax cheating plunderers of the Common Wealth? As to unexplained deaths, they happen everywhere all the time, what is unique to Russia is the expectation that the President explain them.
      Many countries give traditional religious bodies preferential treatment, the UK certainly does. In the case of Russia the special treatment that the Orthodox receive is explicable in a variety of ways, none of which suggests that Putin was bribed or corruptly influenced to enable such measures.
      My own guess is that Putin is corrupt and has succumbed to what our poet Milton called “that last infirmity of noble mind” and that for him “Fame is the spur” to his actions.

      • Sorry, Not Buying It says

        “As to ‘anti-gay’ measures, Russian laws against sexual congress with minors are often so described but they differ little from those elsewhere.”

        That’s a nice evasion, but in Russia there are laws on the books that criminalize “homosexual propaganda”. One case involved a youth counselor who worked with gay teenagers being charged for “spreading homosexual propaganda”.

        • Jen says

          You don’t mean this, do you?

          FEDERAL LAW
          On Introducing Amendments to the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offences
          The Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offences (Collection of Laws of the Russian Federation, 2002, No. 1, Article 1, No. 30 et al.) shall be amended as follows:

          1) add Article 6.13.1 reading as follows:

          “Article 6.13.1. Propaganda of homosexualism among minors

          Propaganda of homosexualism among minors –

          is punishable by an administrative fine for citizens in the amount of four thousand to five thousand rubles; for officials –forty thousand to fifty thousand rubles; for legal entities – four hundred thousand to five hundred thousand rubles”;

          2) in Article 28.3, Section2, Clause 1 figures “6.13” shall be changed to “6.13.1”.

          President of the Russian Federation

          to the Draft Federal Law “On Amendments to the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offences”

          Propaganda of homosexualism in Russia took a wide sweep. This propaganda is delivered both through the media and through active social actions that promote homosexualism as a behavioral norm. It is especially dangerous for children and youth who are not yet capable of a critical attitude to the avalanche of information that falls upon them every day. In this regard, it is necessary to primarily protect the younger generation from the effects of homosexual propaganda, and the present bill pursues this goal.

          Family, motherhood and childhood in the traditional, adopted from the ancestors understanding are the values ​​that provide a continuous change of generations and serve as a condition for the preservation and development of the multinational people of the Russian Federation, and therefore they require special protection from the state.

          Legitimate interests of minors are an important social value, with the goal of the public policy toward children being to protect them from the factors that negatively affect their physical, intellectual, mental, spiritual,and moral development. Paragraph 1 of Article 14 of the Federal Law № 124-FZ of24.07.1998 “On Basic Guarantees of Child Rights in the Russian Federation” directly states the obligation of public authorities of the Russian Federation to take measures to protect children from information, propaganda and campaigning that harm their health and moral and spiritual development.

          In this connection it is necessary to establish measures to ensure intellectual, moral and mental security of children, including the prohibition onto perform any act aimed at the promotion of homosexuality. By itself, the prohibition of such propaganda as an activity of purposeful and uncontrolled dissemination of the information that could harm the health and moral and spiritual development, as well as form misperceptions about the social equivalence of conventional and unconventional sexual relationships, among individuals who, due to their age, are not capable to independently and critically assess such information cannot be regarded as violating the constitutional rights of citizens.

          Given the above, a bill suggesting amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences was prepared to introduce administrative responsibility for propaganda of homosexuality among minors. In this case, administrative responsibility is established not for the sheer fact of the person’s homosexuality, but only for propaganda of homosexualism among minors.

          This bill imposes the right to make records of administrative offences for public actions aimed at propaganda of homosexualism among minors on the law enforcement officials (the Police), and trial of cases of administrative offences– on the judges.<i><b>

          [edited by Admin to (hopefully) fix formatting]

          • I once thought of going to live there and started by learning everything I could about salaries and house prices, food and fuel costs, healthcare and social security. I sourced from many avenues and the cost of living is indeed expensive in Moscow, but elsewhere it varies. As for Putin’s leaning towards centrism and a free market – he is very much in favour of a free market, but those countries who already belong to a Trade Agreement are proving a hurdle. That’s the reason he is travelling the world trying to find markets which are based towards a free exchange on mutually agreed terms. There are certain living costs which have risen, mainly food, but for the most part, wages have kept apace, unlike the UK where living costs are spiraling out of control. In Russia, the poor are still poor, but no poorer than they were before the illegal sanctions. That in itself, is quite a balancing act Putin has pulled off. He will do more, given the time and opportunity to do so. If you were looking for trading partners, would you bad mouth them the way UK politicians have? Bungling Boris, Theresa May and a few other Tory twits have managed to anger Italy, Australia, India and a few other would be, but unlikely now, as a result, future trading partners.
            Both Russia and even China, are having to compete in ever tightening circles of constraints involving what might be perceived as capitalism, it’s a matter of cherry picking the markets you can get the best deal from, sometimes, any which way you can. When NATO and the EU along with the US are trying to bury Russia’s economy, with opportunities deliberately being limited, can you blame him for wanting to beat them at their own game? For the moment, it’s a case of “whatever works”, until he wins this crass game of financial, geopolitical and propaganda chess. Hopefully he will be in office long enough to win and then start dictating rules of his own choosing.
            That’s my perspective, but I am no economist – I leave that to Joe Stiglitz, et al.

          • Sorry, Not Buying It says

            This law is utterly dripping with lurid, regressive and religiously inspired homophobic allusions. It’s also incredibly vague, such that virtually anything could be classified as “promoting propaganda”. What this law does – in effect if not in direct reference – is to promote heterosexual supremacism. If a youngster is a homosexual, it would be an “offense” under such a vile law to tell them anything other than that they are a freak of nature, sick, immoral or some other allusion to them being mentally inadequate or pathological and that they are in need of “correction” in order to preserve their “spiritual development” (a judgment derived not from science, but from religious notions of “normal behavior”. I.e. notions grounded in superstition). This law is simply a pile of atavistic trash sucking up to the motifs of Tsarism and Orthodox Christianity, dumped like muck on the heads of the toiling masses, to distract them from the capitalist and exploitative character of the Russian state and to send them instead on diversionary errands worrying about stupidities like “defending our traditional values” (i.e. defending structures of male domination of women, maintaining class relations within the household and blathering about an ill-defined “morality”, while the Russian bourgeoisie exploits and oppresses the Russian proletariat and engages in every type of debauchery and scandal); it is a tactic by the Russian bourgeois to get the Russian masses to unite with the exploiters under a “common Russia” (i.e. get the masses to tow the line of the capitalists).

            The useless Communist Party of the Russian Federation, showing its social-chauvinist colors, has disgracefully and opportunistically supported anti-homosexual measures such as this law, on the lurid grounds of preserving “traditional Russian values”. This shows their utter lack of seriousness in the politics of Marxism-Leninism, and their willingness to unite behind capitalist and reactionary forces in the name of preserving a reactionary “Russian national pride”.

            Stalin was correct when he said that an era of darkness would befall the world if the USSR ever collapsed (of course, by the time it did collapse, the USSR had itself thoroughly degenerated into a social-imperialist state with few aspirations to genuine socialism). This darkness has seeped into every crevice, every aspect of life, such that even progressive people are infected with it and sing its praises.

            We have to unite NOT with the Russian national bourgeoisie in its inter-imperialist contest with American imperialism, but with the Russian masses in general, the Russian revolutionary proletariat in particular and with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters everywhere.

          • George Cornell says

            Thanks for pulling this out. It does show that on this issue Russia is lagging slightly behind the West. But surely you realize that your own country likely decriminalized homosexuality very recently and that your parents and grandparents would likely have been enthusiastic supporters of such a law. When Alan Turing was hounded to suicide there was no upheaval, no change in the laws and no public regret to speak of. The blackmail of Jeremy Thorpe could not have happened without vigorous unchecked homophobia in the UK.

            The Russkies will catch up and it is good to remember that changes in social policy are hothouse flowers easily derailed temporarily.

            With Racism flourishing in the US, with child sex abuse rampant in the UK (vide Rotherham. Rochdale , Oxford, Westminster…) some perspective is needed.

    • Seraskier says

      [[ However, the absence of any real democracy in Russia ]]

      Laughable trash.

    • John. What on earth has gotten into you? I read with disbelief as you reeled out, almost by rote, every western and certainly UK based misrepresentation available. What was that codswallop about ” the absence of any real democracy in Russia” all about. I’m British and as such understand only too well that we have no real democracy, co,pared to that of Russia, or Syria or Ukraine(pre US nazi coup). The level of corruption in the so called Big Five (Britain is now 6th) is mind boggling and you criticize Russia’s Putin? Holy macaroni John, your comment is truly “out there”.

      • Because there is no such thing as a perfect human being. Humans lie by nature. It’s one of the things that sets them apart from animals.

        • Awakening to the lie without lying about it is not an option to you?
          You are not ‘humans’.

          • No, but I am human and everything fundamental to my human nature is fundamental to all humans without the slightest restriction upon one human or all humans. We all fundamentally know this to be true.

        • Big surprise for you AARON. Not all of us lie, precisely because it is not in our nature. Whilst it might be in yours, that is perhaps a reflection of your own moral standing, but don’t tar the rest of us with the same brush please.

        • Human beings have the tendency towards lying and other bad behavior ‘because’ they are imperfect, but not by design. And the tendency does not mean that it can’t be avoided.

          • aaronmicalowe says

            Well then, if you think it can be avoided, you have to prove it to yourself. Otherwise it remains but an unproven theory.

            • Jen says

              Obviously you’re not keen on avoiding lying and other bad behaviour yourself if that would mean proving yourself wrong.


            • Nonsense. I didn’t say that you can avoid being imperfect. You can’t it’s inherited. But you ‘can’ avoid the tendency to sin. That’s choice. You can also sell your soul. Can you choose to do good after you sell your soul. Perhaps, If Satan allows it. But that wouldn’t change your fate. Or his. It’s not like in Star Wars, where you can never cross over into the dark side and come back, except when you can. But believe what you want. And don’t expect me to argue with you about beyond this point.

              • Enough is enough says

                UK and US so-called ‘leaders’cannot graduate from the kindergarden. Putin is a great statesman, in a higher league entirely; and lest we forget – nobody is perfect!

        • Sorry, Not Buying It says

          “Because there is no such thing as a perfect human being. Humans lie by nature. It’s one of the things that sets them apart from animals.”

          The issue isn’t whether “humans lie”, but in whose CLASS INTERESTS they lie. For example, if revolutionaries lie to the police in the interests of building a mass movement, while a capitalist politician lies to the working class in order to consolidate capitalist exploitation, are these equivalent cases of “corruption”? According your logic, which reduces everything to “human nature”, they must be. But no, they are clearly different because the class content of each is totally different. Lying to the exploiters on behalf of helping the masses is clearly a PROGRESSIVE thing, and we can imagine many cases where such lying would help the cause of the masses. In such cases, we would have to say that they constitute morally correct behavior. On the other hand, lying TO the masses is a reactionary, REGRESSIVE thing, especially when done on behalf of the exploiting classes. Whether lying, or even killing, can be considered moral or not has nothing to do with airy notions of “human principle”, but on whether the action actually HELPS the cause of the masses. If it does, then it’s moral. If not, then it isn’t. It’s really quite simple, but because serious class politics has taken a back seat to cheering on one group of imperialists against another, the proper framework for understanding the ethics of actions is also obscured.

          If Putin lies to the masses, then he is acting in a corrupt way. Nothing to do with “human nature”. If Putin lies to US imperialists but in the interests of the masses, then he is acting in a non-corrupt way.

          You also made a gaffe when you said that lying is one of the things that sets them apart from animals. In reality, exploitation exists in nature as well, with many means of deception that have evolved over eons of time. Human lying is a consciously embodied and deployed manifestation of our biology. Nature, not just human nature, is replete with lying.

      • John says

        How does anyone know anything without continuous direct personal knowledge?
        Answer: through media reports – which are not always reliable.
        The author of the article is one such source but has not addressed any of the issues I raised.
        Her account is remarkably benign but also highly limited.
        Absolute or virtually absolute dictators have no need for corruption.
        They have everything they could possibly humanly want.
        They have unrivaled or virtually unrivaled power within their own operational spheres.
        What can anyone offer someone who has everything?
        Putin does not need more money for personal or political purposes.
        He can almost certainly get all the sex he wants – if he is so inclined.
        He is not brash like Trump and some other western politicians.
        He is careful and cautious in his actions, though determined to gain power for Russia.
        His prime motivation I believe is sheer Russian nationalism.
        The only way to influence him is by enhancing Russian nationalism.
        That is why he and the Russian Orthodox Church are cosied up together.
        It is exactly the same strategy Stalin pursued during the so-called Great Patriotic War.
        Putin has gone even further than Stalin by rehabilitating the Romanov dynasty.
        He is also a far more overt supporter of Russian orthodoxy than ever even Stalin was.
        From a western perspective, he is easy to work with – if that is what they want to do.
        For myself and other westerners, I am glad not to have to live in Putin’s Russia.
        I don’t dislike the man but neither do I like him. I am completely neutral on him.
        I think we all need to understand – as much as we can – just what he is capable of.

        • Seraskier says

          [[ I am glad not to have to live in Putin’s Russia.]]

          We’re also delighted that pig-ignorant scum like you don’t live here in Russia!!

          • Seraskier. John is not usually prone to this kind of outburst which may seem arbitrary in this instance. It may be that he is simply playing devils advocate. He has stated that he neither likes nor dislikes Putin and perhaps this is true. Whilst I do not appreciate his denouncement of the article’s authour based on what he has read only in the propagandist media, he has a right to be skeptical. I for one, have read much about Putin, based on the observances of others who do not have an axe to grind and am, therefore, much more inclined to believe Tennison over deliberately bigoted and lying MSM. By all means accuse him of being a TROLL, but don’t call him scum just because he is TROLLING on this occasion. It is rather obvious that he wishes to undermine the veracity of Tennison’s article, which only suggests that he dislikes Putin, but is not proof. I find it difficult to accept that John is a bigot, it would be sad to learn that he is and very disappointing. We are all entitled to an opinion as long as it is not founded on misconception and promoting known lies and misinformation gleaned from the already corrupt.

          • aaronmicalowe says

            Hardly an endearing indictment supporting free speech.

        • Russia, under Putin’s rule has seen advancements the like of which, put to shame the equivalent lacking among the rival democracies and “economically superior” countries. Compared to the UK and US, Putin has achieved far more under illegal sanctions than most of the governments who imposed them. I know this because I have made comparison of living and the level of investment undertaken under the boot of elitists over the last eighteen years. There’s no comparison, Russia wins, hands down, despite the spite and deviance of it’s detractors.

          • Paolo says

            mohandeer, as far as advancements go for me the key is the relative cost of living. Rent prices and healthcare costs, both of which have exploded in the west. I am not sure how these are in Russia, certainly i have heard moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world (a dubious honour shared with london).
            Shouldn’t advancement have a reduction of costs as its goal? Yes unless the advancement is free market driven in which case it seems the opposite is true. Much as i actually like and respect Putin he does seems rather uncritical of the excesses of the free market.

    • Excuse me? Short of threatening to hand a family members head on a plate, I cannot and will not be corrupted. How unfortunate then, that you obviously can be.
      “…..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?”
      FYI I have known quite a few people who would not be corrupted, no matter the favor proffered.
      Amazingly, some people still believe that “everyone has their price” (because they themselves could and would
      sell their soul for a price it it were high enough)despite the fact that many of us have proven, we cannot be bought, whilst surrounded by those who can and are corruptible. Abandoning one’s integrity is a serious betrayal of oneself, first and foremost, but also any self respect or esteem.
      You’re wrong. NOT everyone is corruptible – far from it.

    • And if you find yourself in the employ of an entity like USAID, How do you ‘not’ become corrupted, unless you’re just a cook or a janitor?

      • Dear Arrby, I have been in the employ of corruptible assholes. They(but for one, who soon found out his mistake) knew not to try to offer me an alternative which might be “in my best interests”. Government at every level is corrupt in part, some survive with their integrity and principles, others succumb. USAID is a huge sprawling organisation and there are likely many who are and remain, true, it’s just not usually them who get to do the talking. The same is true of AI and HRW, the trick is to find those who have not succumbed and ask them what they know.

        • After spending 10 minutes typing, through serious lag, a response to you, it completely disappeared.

        • *Trying this again. I seem to get intercepted very easily. For 10 minutes I typed, with serious lag impeding me, a response, forgetting to save it first. While I typed, a box in the bottom lefthand corner of my screen was super active transferring info and receiving info. And that’s after I spent the last two days scrubbing my machine with half a dozen malware scanners and using the native tools of my windows 10 to clean up everything. Now it’s back to normal. What the heck!

          Mohandeer: I think we need to keep outing, and warning the newbies therefore, the baddies. People smarter and more knowledgeable than I think so. Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds frequently segues into a tirade about pseudo progressive media. Indeed, They are falling like flies. No one is incorruptible. I can accept language (when called for) that calls someone incorruptible if by that they don’t mean ‘absolutely’ incorruptible. It’s a free universe.

          Look at all the psuedo progressive sites! They are falling like rain. I shouldn’t have to go through it all, over and over again. But here’s a brief rundown. Laura Flanders is funded by the Lannon Foundation who has blocked John Pilger from speaking at certain venues, as I recall. Common Dreams (which banned me) carries articles from everyone, including CIA asset Graham Fuller and Russia destroyer Jeffrey Sachs. Consortium News, incredibly (because it’s otherwise stellar) carries Graham Fuller’s articles. See The Corbett Report’s expose on Graham Fuller. Canada’s premier progressive site carries Rwandan genocidaire Gerald Caplan’s articles, without shame or remorse (or pressure from readers to care about it?). Democracy Now, slammed repeatedly, for good reason, by Sibel Edmonds, revealed itself to this one-time supporter when they did a pro White Helmets show. The Intercept fails in spectacular ways, even if it’s still a great source of info. What do you expect from an org whose BILLIONAIRE owner aided and abetted the CIA et al in installing a neonazi regime in Ukraine! But Murtaza Hussain’s pro USAID, pro White Helmets piece (with no mea culpa that I know of or even much in the way of opprobrium from other progressives) was utterly alarming. Yep, It matters.

          Don’t keep quiet folks.

          • George Cornell says

            Why on earth are you shouting BILLIONAIRE? The Intercept is doing just fine, thank you, and has become an essential source.

  24. summitflyer says

    Thank you Sharon for providing a true in sight of Vladimir Putin. Here in the West we get nothing but lies and demonization of this man. I have viewed , read and listened for snippets of information on the Russian president for quite a number of years always to see if the MSM was correct ,but believing that one must judge a person by what he/she does and not what is said .
    Thank you so much for this enlightening report .It not totally substantiates my beliefs but enhances same as to the quality of the man .We , in the West , should be so lucky to have in our leaders a person with this integrity and good will.

    • summitflyer says

      Correction : ” It not only totally substantiates my beliefs but enhances same as to the quality of the man”

      • Manda says

        I have the same opinion.

        I came to the fairly certain conclusion some years ago that the Putin portrayed in the west was a ‘malign phantom’ created for political propaganda purposes.

      • JJA says

        Well there are supposedly now 7.5 billion people living on our planet now. Surely, at least one, whether or not this is Putin, is incorruptible?

        • aaronmicalowe says

          Nope. It’s just not in human nature as much as we’d wish it was.

          • JJA says

            Sorry, but please explain based on proper scientific methodology what you mean by ‘it’s just not in human nature…’

            • Jen says

              He certainly can’t point to the Panama Papers, detailing personal financial information belonging to wealthy individuals and government officials from around the globe, that were leaked in 2015. There were attempts to besmirch Vladimir Putin’s name by linking him to the various offshore accounts mentioned and they turned out to be dubious indeed. He’s corrupt because associates of his have held overseas bank accounts mentioned in the papers? Yawn.

          • Manda says

            You must separate nature from nurture and cultural indoctrination. Perhaps our modern societies and economic structures tacitly promote corruption, selfish interest and deceit?

            • aaronmicalowe says

              Perhaps they do. But it is our corruptible human nature that made those societies and structures. No matter what way you slice it, it’s unavoidable.

              • aaronmicalowe: You need to remodel yourself and start interacting within different circles. Granted there is still an argument raging regarding nature and nurture, but that in itself, offers up an argument about human nature not being a given as you seem to think. You have an opportunity to reflect on whether your propensity and predisposition towards dishonesty is inherited or assumed by choice. Only you an change it.

              • Manda says

                It is only unavoidable if we accept corruption and allied traits are an inherent part of our nature and that nurture and/or cultural and socially accepted norms have no influence in shaping, checking or restraining our thinking and behaviours for the good of all.
                We are a gregarious species, social acceptance is a powerful behavioural motivator. Surely we can imagine creating a society based on caring for others, probity,one that believes the good of all is a good for each individual?

                I refuse to accept we are inherently corrupt (and selfish etc.) I dream of and yearn for another world, at peace with far less suffering.
                As a modern, well educated society surely we can begin to imagine how to move away from that old model of corruption and selfishness that has brought centuries of untold suffering and destruction?

                  • Manda says

                    Thank you. I am still finding my way and learning how to express my thoughts and feelings in a coherent and simple manner though.

                    • Jen says

                      You’re doing well, much better than many people who visit here.

                      What is most tricky is trying to say all you want to say, in a way you think people will understand, and often not knowing or being able to find the words and phrases that best express what you want to say, before something distracts you …

                • It’s unavoidable because of the nature of humans. Corruption is like corrosion. Wherever there is power corruption naturally happens.

                  It would be wonderful if humans weren’t corruptible but that’s just wishful thinking. Just ain’t happening. You know it and I know it. No point trying to pretend otherwise.

      • kayaboosha says

        Yes they are. Don’t reflect your own character weakness onto everyone else.
        You are susceptible to corruption therefore everyone else must be too? How narcissistic.

        • aaronmicalowe says

          Personally I think it’s arrogant to believe that because I am corruptable as a human being therefore everyone elae is therefore not human or corruptable. That is the opposite of narcissism.

          • You are the one who is advancing the argument that human beings are by nature, corruptible, without any evidence that this is the case and not the reverse. The arrogance, that you are somehow representative of the norm, is yours, not everyone else’s.

      • witters says

        “No human being is incorruptible.” Are you the Master of the Irrelevant Truism?

    • tarqu1no says

      I have been thinking that there is an element of show here, Mitch, insofar as it is rooted in the acceptance of faux retaliatory measures taken by the US and the subsequent strategic measures by Russia as being necessary for US and Russian domestic appeasement. The attack was clearly a limp wristed affair, although tragically not to the families of its victims, and it has all the appearance of a firework display intended to mesmerise the US media. I suspect this is also understood by the Russians and that their reaction will be short lived. I suspect US will not pursue this for more than another week or three.
      Of course, it all could be as it seems and WWIII is indeed another step closer. The fact that this makes for captivating headline speculation is probably just a coincidence.

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