Understanding Vladimir Putin’s Russia

In a lively discussion about who Vladimir Putin is and the danger he poses to the world, Steve is joined by Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, and Susan Glasser, staff writer at The New Yorker. Baker and Glasser wrote Kremlin Rising, a book about Vladimir Putin’s early years, when they served for four years as Moscow bureau chiefs for the Washington Post nearly two decades ago. Much of what they wrote back then is directly relevant to the events unfolding in Russia and Ukraine today, including the lesson that Putin often tells us what he’s going to do — and then does it. “Vladimir Putin is in a war with history,” Glasser says. “He is establishing what he sees as his legacy as the great restorer of Russia. He came to power more than two decades ago with a campaign theme that might be familiar here in the United States, which was essentially ‘Make Russia Great Again.’ And in his view Russia was a great empire and empire needs territory and it needs breathing space, to use a horrifying echo of 20th century European wars. And Vladimir Putin is the restorer….He wants to be Vlad the Great and this is his bid for immortality.”

Show Notes:

Kremlin Rising by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser

Susan’s Frontline interview

Polling on Putin’s growing popularity in the Republican Party

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