Suzanne Harrington: Putin reminds me of a James Bond villain
These latest developments are worrying, aren’t they? Not accepting that there can’t be something that has declared its independence; sending trucks to symbolically wait outside a place where he is not welcome; claim access to smaller entities with fun names; using his followers to threaten harm. But enough about Kanye West.
Unless your name starts with a K and your kids’ names look like Google Maps, Vlad the Invader is the one to worry about. Not to trivialize the stalking and harassment of any woman – in this case Kim Kardashian by her selfish cuckold ex-husband – but right now the rest of us are probably a little more concerned about the fucking fucking Vladimir Putin.
I’m writing this hours after the Russian military invaded Ukraine – by the time you read this, a whole weekend of Putin’s WTFery will have rolled out.
That boat-length white table where he met Macron, each seated miles away at opposite ends – was it really about social distancing, or did Putin watch too many Game of Thrones movies and Jump ? Has he lost the plot? Or he plays us massively?
“I’m a human relations specialist,” he said. Certainly, he is the political performer of our time, virgin, impenetrable, ageless. (He is almost 70 years old, his face smooth as a skating rink). He is ranked eighth dan in judo – a black belt – which is synonymous with honor, respect and humility. Like his British counterpart, no one is quite sure how many children he has – definitely two, maybe three. It only ever presents itself as a single entity, married to mother Russia, its modern-day czar.
All that armchair psychology was going great until he sent the tanks. I don’t know about you, but I had a good time googling “Putin’s psychological profile” to see what was going on beyond the usual KGB thug. , kleptocrat, autocrat. I thought only of this long white table. All he needed was a fluffy white cat to complete the picture.
British-American foreign affairs scholar Fiona Hill suggests that Putin is a composite of six personas: statist, historian, survivalist, outsider, free trader, case manager. He was never part of Moscow’s elite, until he was everyone’s elitist; he saw Russia’s fall in the 1990s as a disgrace, its restoration as a matter of national honor; since then it has been stockpiling resources, from animal feed to weaponry. Ironically, his restoration of Russian pride and power created an affluent middle class that would prefer European-style politics to nationalism and autocracy. And now he wants Ukraine back. How is this going to end?
Boris Johnson must be delighted the spotlight on villainy has shifted significantly to the east.