Masha Gessen, Vladimir Putin biographer, says that the election of Trump felt to Putin like he himself had won the U.S. election himself. To Putin, he would be in charge of Russia and the United States. Trump’s television show, The Apprentice sums up the role that Putin pictures for Trump.
“I think Putin views Trump as an Apprentice,” said Gessen in a CNN documentary.
Putin’s history of interfering and attempting to divide countries in Europe and in territories like Crimea and the Ukraine reads like a game plan showing his method of well-practiced operation. The U.S. is but one larger target out of many.
His likely ultimate motive, in regards to the United States: revenge for the humiliation he felt at the collapse of the Soviet Union after the Cold War. Leading up the collapse, Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost, or openness, had brought a surge of Western cultural influences that became a popular uprising Putin would resent. He would later crack down on that openness with total control of Russian media.
The KGB, to which Putin belonged was dissolved, and Putin considered the breakup of the Soviet Union and the KGB to be “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century,” according to David Sanger of The New York Times.
Putin was left alone inside a KGB building in 1989 when an uprising threatened to overrun the building. Moscow gave him no support, and he had to face down the crowd alone. It was an event that would profoundly shape his nationalist worldview.
He rose quickly in the power vacuum in the struggling new Russia, and when President Boris Yeltsin resigned, he appointed Putin to take over. Yeltsin was literally drunk with power, and making a fool out of himself for corruption and ineptitude. Putin would step in to “make Russia great again,” reigning in the Oligarchs who had gathered immense wealth.
Putin’s sense of humiliation by the West was no doubt recalled when candidate Hillary Clinton commented that Putin, as a KGB agent, “by definition he doesn’t have a soul.” George W Bush had said in 2001 that he had looked into his eyes and saw a sense of his soul. Hillary had no such illusions. The KGB was ruthless and inhumane, and she knew it. Trump simply says, “You think we are so innocent?”
Hillary would be one of his loudest critics in the West when Moscow faced more uprisings in 2011 calling for Putin’s removal. He was likely seriously worried the uprisings would take away his power, yet he still managed to be re-elected to a third term in an election that by many accounts were totally rigged. Meanwhile Trump and Pence try to control the next election with their voter commission.
Putin saw the uprisings as triggered by Clinton, and never forgot how she “kicked him when he was down.”
He held a grudge against Clinton, which, along with his motive to avenge the fall of the Soviet Union, impelled him to sabotage the 2016 presidential elections. He has his biggest windfall with Trump, who seems to be acting like his apprentice after all: dividing the country with a wave of nationalism and culture wars, only they aren’t uniting the United States whatsoever. It’s giving Russia a weaker adversary –Mission accomplished.
Trump’s approval rating is historically low, while Putin’s approval in Russia is extremely high. (Though it must be said, his people never get to see any negative stories about him on Russian media.)
Trump and his Republican supporters forget Putin’s policy is totally anti-Western, and Trump seems to have fallen right into Putin’s hands. He’s the puppet that Clinton said he would be.
“He understands the vulnerabilities of free societies,” said Fareed Zakaria of Putin.
“Vladimir Putin understands us very well. The question is, do we, does Donald Tump really understand him?,” continued Zakaria.
Putin understands how to exploit America’s weaknesses. Trump appears to be one of the biggest weaknesses this country has ever seen.
Watch the documentary, The Power of Putin below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube