Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin
Does Vladimir Putin deserve his reputation as a modern Machiavelli? Is he really a great strategic thinker? And where does he get his ideas?
What does Vladimir Putin think about? What are his hopes and aims: for the lands bordering Russia, for Europe, and even for the world?
In January 2014, the Kremlin sent its senior civil servants, governors and party bigwigs a special New Year’s present: philosophy books, by nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian thinkers. Those paying attention will have found this reading material strangely familiar, from references in landmark speeches by the president himself. These great works set forth ideas about the national leader’s role in an ‘authentic’ democracy, the importance of being conservative, the urgency of rooting morality in religion, and the historic struggle of the Russian people against the timeless hostility of the West.
President Putin is the man who manages and manipulates these existential Russian anxieties. Since the annexation of Crimea, the challenge of decrypting his vision for the nation—propelled by the Kremlin’s Eurasian neo-imperialists and ‘Russian-way’ conservatives—has become more pressing than ever.
This revealing and engrossing book invites us into the psyche of the Russian president—his doctrine and geopolitical vision—to answer one of the most urgent questions of today: what is Vladimir Putin thinking?
Michel Eltchaninoff is Editor-in-Chief of Philosophie magazine and a former lecturer in philosophy at the University of Burgundy and Pantheon-Sorbonne University. His Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin won the Prix de La Revue des Deux Mondes in its original French edition.