What does Vladimir Putin want, in Ukraine and beyond? We’ll unpack a big new biography of the Russian leader.
Suddenly, it’s Cold War language all over again. Maybe hotter. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling Russian action in Ukraine “brazen,” “craven.” Britain’s defense secretary is warning of a “real and present danger” to NATO. Calling Russia as dangerous as ISIS. A new report says Europe has “sleepwalked” into a “catastrophic misreading” of Vladimir Putin. So, what does Putin want? How far will he go? Are there constraints? What are they? Two big new books look at the man – Putin – and the Russian media that backs him. This hour On Point: What Putin wants. And how far he’ll go to get it.
-- Tom Ashbrook
Karen Dawisha, professor of political science and director of the Havinghurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at the University of Miami of Ohio. Author of the book, "Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?' (@dawisha)
Peter Pomerantsev, contributor to the London Review of Books. Former Russian television producer. Author of the new book, "Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia." (@peterpomeranzev)
From Tom’s Reading List
New York Review of Books: How He and His Cronies Stole Russia — "Whatever their conclusion, almost all of these analysts seek an explanation in the reform process itself, asking whether it was effective, or whether it was flawed, or whether it could have been designed differently. But what if it never mattered at all? What if it made no difference which mistakes were made, which privatization plans were sidetracked, which piece of advice was not followed? What if 'reform' was never the most important story of the past twenty years in Russia at all?"
London Review of Books: Diary --"When I was growing up in the 20th century revolutions seemed significant. At school the Russian Revolution was everyone’s favourite subject but it was less theoretical for me than for most: my parents had ended up in England because of it. The 68-er parents of schoolfriends would tell me about the sexual and cultural revolutions of their youth which, they said, changed the world. I was 12 in 1989, when we all watched the Berlin Wall fall on live TV. It seemed like the Russian Revolution and the 1960s rolled into one, the people taking power from elites while celebrating the subversive effect of U2."
New York Times: ‘Out of My Mouth Comes Unimpeachable Manly Truth’ — "Ninety percent of Russians, according to the Levada Center, an independent research firm, get their news primarily from television. Middle-aged and older people who were formed by the Soviet system and those who live outside Moscow and St. Petersburg are particularly devoted TV watchers. Two of the main channels — Channel 1 and Rossiya 1 — are state-owned. The third, NTV, is nominally independent but is controlled by Gazprom-Media, a subsidiary of the giant energy company that is all but a government ministry. Executives from all three companies regularly meet with Kremlin officials."
Read An Excerpt From "Nothing Is True and Everything is Possible" By Peter Pomerantsev
This program aired on February 23, 2015.