Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin

Michel Eltchaninoff 

What is Vladimir Putin thinking? Does he deserve his reputation as a modern Machiavelli? And where does he get his ideas?

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Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin Paperback
February 2018£12.99

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The Russian president’s landmark speeches, interviews and policies borrow heavily from great Russian thinkers past and present, from Peter the Great to Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn. They offer powerful visions of strong leaders and the Russian nation: they value conservatism and the Slavic spirit. They root morality in Orthodoxy, and Russian identity in the historic struggle with the West.

Today, Putin manages and manipulates those same ideas in his ‘defence’ of 130 million ethnic Russians against the world. With the annexation of Crimea, the war in Syria and shock election results across the West, the challenge of decrypting his worldview has become more pressing than ever. From a Eurasian Union to a new Russian Empire, this is a revealing tour of Kremlin doctrine and strategy, viewed through its philosophical roots.


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.

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‘Here is the paradox: Putin is no philosopher-king, yet he overtly and repeatedly evokes a series of Russian thinkers and writers and expects his people to know them. In this thought-provoking book, Michel Eltchaninoff explores Putin’s philosophical pantheon and the ways he appropriates and sometimes simply misunderstands them, in pursuit of his political and ideological programme for Russia.’ — Mark Galeotti, author of The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia

‘Enlightening’ — Le Monde Diplomatique

‘Uncovers a fascinating truth … The real interest in this book lies in its unstinting analysis of the ideological sources of Putin’s conservatism. … Notably rigorous [it is] a must-read for those wanting to understand the Russian leader’s ideological roots — disturbing and fascinating in equal measure’ — Le Figaro

‘On the plane to Moscow, Francois Hollande tucked into a short new book this week: Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin. The author, Michel Eltchaninoff, traces the political and spiritual education of the Russian chief.’ — Midi Libre