Skip to comments.Is Putin a Psychopath, or Does He Just Play One on TV?
Posted on 03/04/2014 7:36:41 PM PST by No One Special
The consensus opinion after Putins press conference earlier today is that he has lost his mind. It was rambling, angry, discursive, and at times just bizarre.
Of course all of the usual Putinisms were there. Most notably, blaming the West for everything in a stream of whataboutism. This was accented by claims that the Ukrainian opposition consists mainly of thugs and fascists; that Yanukovych was wrongly ousted and didnt order any violence against protestors; and that the opposition was very well trained and professional, having passed through training camps in the Baltics and Poland. (Take this as a very ominous warning, people.)
My dear colleague, look how well trained the people who operated in Kiev were. As we all know they were trained at special bases in neighbouring states: in Lithuania, Poland and in Ukraine itself too. They were trained by instructors for extended periods. They were divided into dozens and hundreds, their actions were coordinated, they had good communication systems. It was all like clockwork. Did you see them in action? They looked very professional, like special forces. Why do you think those in Crimea should be any worse?
Yes. Those evil Poles and Lithuanians, training crack troops to throw rocks and fashion catapults. Definitely far more lethal than camouflaged masked men toting AKs.
More broadly, Russia and Putin are always right: the West is always hypocritical and wrong.
Putin also denied the obvious, claiming that there are no Russian troops in Crimea, just local self-defense forces which he denies were trained by Russia.
In other words, there is no agreement on the basic facts of the situation, meaning that any attempt at negotiation with him, either by the Ukrainian government or the West, is doomed to failure. He rejects the legitimacy of the protests, views the outcome as a fascist coup arranged by the West, and denies that Russia is directly involved in the occupation of Crimea.
These were the substantive elements of insanity (paranoia, specifically) of the conference. But Putin added various asides that illustrated a man that feels no need to self-censor, but is so convinced of his own brilliance that anything that crosses his mind should be shared with the world. These thoughts were truly bizarre and mendacious, and even more suggestive of madness.
For instance, when discussing the alleged self-defense forces in Crimea, Putin claimed they were just kitted out in store-bought gear:
QUESTION: Mr President, a clarification if I may. The people who were blocking the Ukrainian Army units in Crimea were wearing uniforms that strongly resembled the Russian Army uniform. Were those Russian soldiers, Russian military?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Why dont you take a look at the post-Soviet states. There are many uniforms there that are similar. You can go to a store and buy any kind of uniform.
They must have some awesome Army-Navy stores in the FSU: not only can you get up to date cammo, you can also pick up the latest AKs and military trucks.
Then he went on to criticize the massive corruption and social stratification in Ukraine, but denied there was anything comparable in Russia:
Corruption has reached dimensions that are unheard of here in Russia. Accumulation of wealth and social stratification problems that are also acute in this country are much worse in Ukraine, radically worse. Out there, they are beyond anything we can imagine imagination. Generally, people wanted change, but one should not support illegal change.
In the same breath, he gave a Ukrainian history lesson:
In my opinion, this revolutionary situation has been brewing for a long time, since the first days of Ukraines independence. The ordinary Ukrainian citizen, the ordinary guy suffered during the rule of Nicholas II, during the reign of Kuchma, and Yushchenko, and Yanukovych.
Ordinary Ukrainians guys suffered under Nicholas II, Kuchma, Yushchenko, Yanukovich. Anybody notice a name missing from that list? Stalin, maybe? (Lenin should get honorable mention too.) The guy who killed one-third of the Ukrainian population via starvation and executions, a total of around 3-8 million people? Think there was a little suffering in 1932-1933? As bad as Yanukovych was, his total body count during the uprising is on the order of the body count every 6 minutes at the height of the Holmodor.
This omission is particularly disgusting given the immense psychological toll that the Holmodor took and continues to take on Ukrainians. Dont think that the omission will not resonate deeply in Ukraine. It is a taunting reminder of how Russians deny, deny, deny the Holmodor, and get incensed-hysterical, actually-at any moral claim made against them by Ukrainians.
The impression of insanity is only reinforced by other actions during the past several days, including a live fire exercise in the Baltic (witnessed by Putin) and todays launch of an ICBM test. Put it altogether, and Putin gives the impression of approaching Kim Jung Un or Kim Jung Il levels of aggressive craziness. (And for those who say these exercises and tests were planned in advance, they could have easily been canceled if Putin wanted to lower the tension level. The fact he let them proceed tells you all you need to know about his intent and mindset.)
So what are the broader implications of his disturbing display of mental imbalance? No doubt the Europeans are even more intimidated now, and will be all the more reluctant to challenge a leader with a nuclear arsenal that they view as mad.
And that raises another possibility: that Putin was playing the psycho for effect. The Slavic version of Nixons Madman Theory, and which Machiavelli wrote about centuries earlier: he wrote that leaders can find it a very wise thing to simulate madness.
I will say, watching the video, that Putin did a very, very credible impression of a madman, but thats necessary to make the gambit work, isnt it?
I dont know whether hes truly mad, or merely feigning it, but the effect will likely be the same. The disturbing display of mental imbalance will work to his favor, and lead the Europeans in particular to back away slowly, letting him keep his current conquests, and prepare for his next move. He may back off now, but he will be back for more. And quite possibly not just in Ukraine. But in the Baltic states and Poland.
They are all completely kookoo if you ask me, stark raving mad
I think the psychos are the leaders here who poo-poo’d his intentions.
I care a lot more about our own KOOKOO here in the White House —The one who is dismantling my country - do not get diverted about Putin. Who gives a rat’s ass - Europe’s problem, not ours. That one American life would be lost for Europe ever again makes me want to hurl. Let them sort it out - but of course, that will never happen....
I’ll be Putin knows who the Greens were back in the 70s 80s and 90s. I’m sure he knows where they were getting their training.
Gosh, I guess we're fortunate that Momjeans Obama isn't a LYING sociopath (If you like your plan, you can keep your plan), whereas Putin is...
Probably most world leaders and CEOs are.
Well, he told a French journalist to get circumcised if the reporter didn’t like his policies in Chechyna and wanted to be Muslim. He said a doctor in Moscow would make sure “nothing grows back.”
I think Putin is tough and probably mean.
He can be pretty charismatic too. Maybe a good leader for Russia, maybe not but definitely not a good leader for Russia’s neighbors.
He’s far more sane than the neo-Nazi Svoboda party lunatics that we have installed in power in Kiev.
Well, at least Putin didn’t promise the Ukrainians, “If you like your Crimea, you can keep your Crimea.”
He’s far more sane than the FR Alex Jones fan club members vomiting nonsense about Nazis and Soros.
Doesn’t sound like he lost his mind to me.
The professor needs to get a clue.
The genius of Russian leadership going back to 1917 has turned a great country into a third world basket-case with nukes.
Ahhh, the propaganda begins.
Russia invaded to prop up their puppet president in the Ukraine.
Wrong, yes it is, the Ukrainians don’t want their president and ousted him once before, in 2006 (I think). Only real difference is we weren’t underwater economically and another difference too; we didn’t have a tool for a president. (Not a big W fan btw; but he did get some things right)
I have no doubt he’s acting crazy on purpose but that does not negate the possibility he still is.
Putin is a Russian nationalist who is paranoid about the West.
Funny that all the so-called smart people in the government and the media can’t figure this out.
He sounded perfectly rational to me too. I suspect it was a large load of self-serving propaganda but there was nothing psychopathic in his words or demeanor.
...”Doesnt sound like he lost his mind to me”....
Didn’t to me either..Putin knows exactly what his agenda is and he’s not about ready to give reporters straight answers because he’s not going to give them any clues...nor does he answer to anyone anyway.
Hey, if our own CIA didn’t see Putins moves coming that would indicate he keeps everything close to his chest til he makes his moves. Why would he be straightforward with the press.
Our own politicians could fill the insanity bowl...Pelosi, Reid, Biden, Obama and a few others.
Putins throwing his weight around because he can...he’s got so many leverages out there few countries want to mess things up further when most are unstable to begin with.
The NSA listens to Angela Merkel's phone calls but didn't intercept any comm traffic about Putin's move on Ukraine? The CIA has no assets on the ground at all over there that would have at least picked up on some rumors? Or is the real story that 0bungles skips most of his intel briefings because he's not really interested in all of that spook nonsense our intel community collects?
“Neo Nazi ‘Sovboda’ & Neo Nazi Right Sector parties in Kiev are the ones who hate Russians and Jews....right?
I’ve been running into photos of them since tracking Ukraine.....they have plenty of thugs working for them who often are blammed on being Putins guys but aren’t.
They did join up with the Ukraine Protesters,......reminded me of how the Islamists began marching and infilitrating the protestors in Egypt.
I’m going to have to take a closer look...but I understand they are pretty much bad guys....
he is a macho commie...which means the lie is the truth for their ends. Evil.
Ukraine chief rabbi accuses Russians of staging anti-Semitic provocations:
The amazin’ Put. He should join a circus.
The other day I was wondering if maybe Puttin was a bit disturbed north of his neck. I concluded that he was. Thanks for the link and proof that he is.
Wouldn’t it be awful if we had a president who was less trustworthy than Putin of Russia? Wouldn’t that be just terrible? I tremble when I think of the possibility. In fack o gots ter qit topin ey shakin two bbbaad<./
“What Does the Bear Say?”
“I am woman see me roar.”
The question all need to ask is why the United States continues to fund, organize and support dangerous thug political groups and parties throughout the world to take out elected Gov. leaders who oppose joining Nato/EU and want to remain independant nations?
"Thirty members of the "Israeli Knesset" condemned the Svoboda party in a signed letter addressed to the President of the European Parliament.... In the letter the Israeli politicians accused 'Svoboda' of "openly glorifying Nazi murder" and "Nazi war criminals"
In May 2013 the "World Jewish Congress" labelled the party as "neo-Nazi" and called for European governments to ban them.
Svoboda and the Right Sector....Svoboda Party leaders...these guys are thugs and now running Ukraine's Government ...and the U.S. financed and assisted their rise..just like we did Morsi/Muslim Brotherhood and their thugs in Egypt..and the Islamic thugs in Syria....McCain always meeting with the bad guys as usual
The rabbi does not dispute what you say about these parties and other groups. Reread the article.
I still will not believe any in Ukraine currently speaking out. ....the US and Eu are behind all this....it’s terrible how we’ve supported such thugs internationally....but when you know their agenda then you know why they do so.
The US is worse than what the mafia ever was....it truly breaks my heart the thugs we have running this country as well....
As it breaks mine as well. My concern, as always, is for liberty for all people. Neither Putin or Obama are on my side. I figure most of the people at FR are on my side. But I do wish that we would always keep one thing in mind and that is that we need unity if we are going to turn things around. So if someone says that Putin’s a bad guy in this Ukrainian situation that does not mean that person is saying that as a way of making Obama look good by comparison.
I believe if Americans are united, we shall overcome.
I thought it was Fox what say LOL!
BTW it official this part of Crimea want part of Russia