Vladimir Putin is the first ruler of Russia since the 16th century who is ethnically Russian, a professional military officer and an intelligence officer. These circumstances determined his character and outlook, as well as his actions as a politician and head of state.
Let me analyze the most important factors that influenced the formation of Vladimir Putin as a personality.
First, Vladimir Putin is an ethnic Russian whose ancestors were peasants who lived in the North-Western and deep regions of Russia. This means that he is a typical genotype of Russian civilization, which throughout the history of Russia up to the middle of the 20th century accounted for at least 90% of the population of the Russian Empire and later, the Russian Federation.
Russian civilization is fundamentally different from Western European and to a large extent from Eastern European, including Western Ukrainian, which has been formed since the 13th century under the significant influence of Poland, Hungary and Austria.
The features and differences of Russian civilization are not only underestimated in Europe and North America, but they had been ignored for five centuries, especially in the last two centuries, and that has led to conflicts and wars between Europe and Russia.
In this material, I would like to note some features of the character and mentality of Russians, which play a special role in the current situation.
- Russians, both men and women, in the event of confrontation and conflict of interest with other people and groups, begin with a search for a compromise and the possibility of resolving contradictions by concluding an agreement. Escape from the conflict at its initial stage is a feature of the genotype of Russians, especially peasants. This feature is due to the peculiarities of history, as well as the system of economic relations in Russian village.
The peculiarity of Russian village was (and to a large extent still remains) that the peasants lived in small territorial communities, that is, communities created not according to the national, but according to the territorial principle, uniting all residents regardless of their ethnicity or origin. It was in this way that the Russian nation was formed, absorbing and including various Slavic and non-Slavic tribes and peoples that lived on the vast territory of present-day Russia.
It was the communities that owned the land, forests, and all other natural resources. Private property was limited to a house and a household plot, stocks of crops produced on the land plots allocated by the community, prey from hunting and fishing, as well as forest collection.
The main land, as well as forests, rivers, lakes were in communal ownership.
Taxes, including those that the community members paid to the ruling princes and later to Tsars, and from the 16th century to the landlords, to whom the communities were transferred by Tsars for tax collection, and then for partial management, were paid by the communities, and not by the peasants as private individuals.
- The huge distances between the communities and the threat of physical destruction in the event of an attack by neighbors or external aggression influenced formation of character and habits of Russian community members.
If the conflict of interests could not be resolved at the initial stage, the Russian community member, on the one hand, began to increase his aggression, and on the other hand, he sharply reduced attempts to find a compromise. At some point, a situation arose when a compromise became impossible for Russian, and conflict of interests grew into open, often armed aggression, which ended in destruction of the enemy or his complete subjugation, or in death of the Russians community members themselves.
If the enemy remained alive and was of interest in terms of his qualities and skills (physical condition, character, intellect, skill and education, etc.) and wished to join the community, then the Russian community accepted the former enemy as its member on equal terms, providing land for agricultural work, assisting in the construction of a house and protecting in the event of an external attack.
- For the Russian Orthodox community member, the concepts of “holiness” and “saint” meant not a refusal to use violence, not a refusal to use force, but a readiness to use force and sacrifice life in case of a threat to the life of family, community, people, state, religion.
The Russian community member understood that in the event of his death, it was the community that would be responsible for the life of his family and ensure their survival. For many Russian peasants, the community was on an equal footing with the family, and in the event of a war or attack from outside, it became more important than individual family members.
The same psychology developed among the Russian army, where for centuries there was a tradition of adoption of monasticism by former warriors and princes in case of injury or inability to fight. Moreover, the monks, who before adoption of monasticism were famous warriors, in the event of war often received blessings to leave the monastery and take part in battles.
- Thousands of small villages-communities scattered over a vast territory, lost in forests and connected to each other, mainly by rivers, for centuries excluded the possibility of creating armies by peasants of the community.
The role of the defenders of the Russian communities was played by special military detachments, squads, which were created by members of the Russian ruling princely family — the Rurikovichs. It was they who, as outposts, were supposed to protect the borders of Russia and repel aggression from the outside. Communes from adjacent villages were recruited as supply units for outposts and the prince’s squad, as an additional military force, and also for guerrilla warfare.
If outposts failed to repel the attack of the aggressor, and Tsar’s army did not have time to come to the rescue, that made it possible for enemy to invade deep into the territory of Russia. Such invasions were accompanied by the murder or capture into slavery of all members of the communities, except for those, mainly the elderly, women and children, whom the communities managed to hide deep in the forests. Such invasions led to the complete ruin and destruction of villages and cities.
In such cases, the princely professional squad had to «punish» and «revenge» the aggressor, making him incapable of a new invasion of the territory of Russia for years. Such «revenge» often led to the destruction of neighboring peoples who attacked Russia, and the absorption of the remnants of the population by Russian territorial communities. Due to this, the expansion of Russia took place.
Second, the laws that were adopted and developed by the power elites and rulers both in the capital of Russia itself and in the capitals of the principalities had little to do with the life of peasants — community members.
Basically, the communities lived according to their own traditions. Relations in communes were based on ancient laws, which were called «Russian Truth». Neighbors and relatives “judged community members not according to the law, but according to “pravda”, according to “sovest.” This fundamentally distinguished Russians from Europeans, because even words that fully and correctly convey the Russian concepts of “sovest” (translated into English as “conscience”) and “pravda” (translated as “truth”), that are at the heart of Russian mentality, behavior and worldview, are absent in European languages and have no correct translation.
Main traditions that determined life of Russian community members were the authority of the oldest, strongest and devotion to the common interests of the community. Laws of state, that were adopted by Princes or Tsars, were perceived as something external, not directly related to their daily life, temporary, alien.
Third. Vladimir Putin belongs to the post-war generation, to those who were born after the Second World War, whose parents experienced times of extreme cruelty and militarism, including militarism, murder, death of people, need to protect loved ones by any means, — all that was a part of everyday life for several years. That brought militarization of consciousness and passed it on to subsequent generations, including Vladimir Putin.
During the years of Putin’s childhood and youth, youth groups played a special place in life. The youth was divided into school classes, residential yards, sports clubs, etc. All of these groups adhered to moral principles that copied or reflected wartime and post-war morality. Loyalty to the friends and interests of the group prevailed over other rules of conduct and laws.
Fourth. For the generation of Vladimir Putin, Nazism and fascism are the most dangerous and inhuman ideologies, regardless of the state or people that adopted these ideologies.
During the Second World War, Ukrainian nationalists fought against the USSR on the side of Nazi Germany, playing the role of not only police units on the territory of Ukraine occupied by the Germans, but also as concentration camp guards, special units for the destruction of partisans, Jews, and families of communists. They made up the majority of saboteurs and spies who were sent by German intelligence to the territory of the USSR.
The fight against Ukrainian nationalists by the Soviet secret services was carried out using the most cruelty. The nationalists captured by the Soviet military were to be shot, with the exception of those who agreed to active cooperation. In these cases, execution was replaced by long prison terms.
Ukrainian nationalists acted with even more cruelty killing all family members, including women and children, of those Ukrainians who helped the Soviet special services in searching for and destroying nationalist detachments.
This confrontation continued after the Second World War. Moreover, the Ukrainians and ethnic Russians, but born in Ukraine, were involved in the secret war on both sides of the conflict. Thus, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalists, Stepan Bandera, was found and killed by the Soviet special services in 1959, in Munich, where he was hiding after the war under false names. He was killed by Ukrainian, KGB agent Bohdan Stashinsky . Another leader, the commander of the army of Ukrainian nationalists, Roman Shukhevych, was killed in 1950 near Lvov. These operations were carried out at the command of the head of the KGB foreign intelligence service Pavel Sudoplatov, who himself was also born in Ukraine in the city of Melitopol (currently surrounded by the Russian army). Sudoplatov commanded operations to eliminate all the leaders of Ukrainian nationalists in the USSR and abroad,.
Fifth, Vladimir Putin was an officer of the KGB and was brought up and trained as an intelligence officer in the traditions laid down during the Second World War and the post-war years, that is, during the Cold War.
The main activity of intelligence officers is to recruit agents who are able to obtain the necessary information and perform other tasks against foreign enemies. Along with those who are ready to cooperate with intelligence for ideological or other reasons, people who have committed acts that they have to hide (violation of the law, deviations in the psyche, moral and sexual perversions, etc.) are subject to recruitment. As a result, intelligence officers classify shortcomings and crimes committed by agents as working moments, as facts that allow to recruit agents. Hence comes the ultimate rationalism and the rejection of moral restrictions in the preparation and conduct of operations.
During his years in the KGB, according to Russian media reports, Putin established himself as an officer who preferred invisibility, quiet, slow and persistent pace of work. Former KGB officers claimed that he had an operational aka «Moth». Putin acted quietly, slowly, scrupulously working through the details, creating detailed plans, and then consistently and scrupulously practicing them. This not only helped, but also interfered with his work and played some role his dismissal from the KGB.
This consistency, inconspicuousness and scrupulousness has remained in Putin’s character and is manifested in everything he does and actively participates. Putin takes pleasure in remaining inconspicuous for a long time, demonstrating his insignificance and weakness, his ignorance, while actively and secretly moving forward in the implementation of his plans.
If Putin demonstrates his predictability, if he follows the plans known to his partners, competitors and opponents, it signals that behind all his actions there are other and unknown goals, and his actions are part of an unknown plan.
Sixth, Vladimir Putin was formed as a politician and official during the criminal revolution in Russia, which began in Soviet times, in the mid-1980s. Behind the criminal leaders and groups that aspired to power and seize the property of the former USSR were Soviet bureaucrats and top officers of the Soviet special services. Almost all the leaders of the criminal gangs that seized the Soviet properties and wealth were agents of the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (and they still remain).
The criminal revolution was accompanied by extreme cruelty and caused damage to Russia comparable to the losses in World War II. According to official data from the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, from 1991 to 1998, 36,000 young people aged 20 to 30 died annually in battles and fighting between criminal gangs. That is three times more compared to the losses of the Soviet Army in 10 years of the war in Afghanistan (1979-1980).
In that times, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) was one of the most criminalized cities in Russia, and during the entire criminal revolution, in the city Administration, Vladimir Putin was in charge of foreign economic relations, including financial flows abroad. It was his abilities and contacts in this area that singled out Putin and attracted attention of Boris Yeltsin and his family. That ultimately led to the rise of Vladimir Putin and his transfer to Moscow and then into the Kremlin. His dismissal from the KGB also played a positive role in his political career, since it was this fact that made it possible to convince the «oligarchs» to support the nomination of Putin, who, as they considered, did not pose any danger to them and could be a toy in their political game.