A Brief History
Today, we celebrate the founding of History and Headlines on September 22, 2013. We now have over 200 articles on our site and so what better way to commemorate these milestones than by digging deeper into the bizarre and sordid history of the leader of a nuclear armed nation possessing more territory than any other country in the world?
(Update, March 2020: We are now 6 1/2 years old and have well over 2000 articles, as well as a YouTube channel. We have also just added more information about Putin to this article and you can see our other Putin related articles by clicking the link.)
(Update, February 2022: Vladimir Putin has really outdone himself this time, with an unprovoked and unjustified invasion of the Ukraine. The brazen and cruel move in spite of universal condemnation by the rest of the world speaks of not only tremendous disregard for the rule of law, but perhaps even a darker side, one that is possibly maniacal or mentally ill. The vicious invasion is aimed at the total subjugation of the Ukraine and the annexation of that nation into Russia. While in these early stages, it is hard to predict the outcome of international sanctions against Putin and Russia, it would seem that this ill-considered aggression will result in economic ruin for Putin, his buddies, and the Russian state. Unfortunately, Russian retaliation is likely to cause severe economic harm to the rest of the world as well. We fervently hope this development does not result in nuclear war.
8. Interference with American elections and politics.
Despite troubling and unexplained denials of President Donald Trump, Putin and his Russian internet trolls have definitely interfered with the 2016 US presidential election and are doing more of the same with the 2020 elections. On top of that, Putin’s trolls are sowing discord in the US by suckering Americans into divided sides by race, religion, economic class and politics with bogus websites and social media manipulation. Putin is engaging in a high level of internet cyber war that is largely being ignored by the Trump administration.
7. Putin dismisses his government.
In February of 2020, Vladimir Putin fired the Prime Minister and virtually his entire cabinet, creating a new government more to his liking in a bald faced move to consolidate his power, looking to stay in power longer. Not a surprise, he did something similar in 2004 and has remained in power since. The moves are seen as part of his plan, which included a constitutional change, to allow him to remain in power past his otherwise term limited date of 2024. Currently 67 years old (as of March 23, 2020), Putin may be able to retain his dictatorship of Russia for quite a few years yet to come. After all, he is constantly conniving ways to consolidate and extend his power.
6. Putin “Stole” Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl Ring
In 2005, Robert Kraft, owner of the American football team The Patriots, had the opportunity to meet with Vladimir Putin. During this meeting, Kraft decided to show Putin his Super Bowl ring, valued at $25,000. According to Kraft, “I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring…I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out….I really didn’t [want to]. I had an emotional tie to the ring, it has my name on it. I don’t want to see it on eBay.” The ring remains in Russia.
5. Putin Kissed a Boy, because WHY!?
If seeing a grown man, let a lone the leader of one of the Earth’s most powerful countries, kiss a boy’s bare skin is not weird enough, Putin’s explanation for why he kissed the boy just makes matters worse: “You know that this was not planned. People came up and I began talking to them, among them this little boy. He seemed to me very independent, sure of himself and at the same time defenseless, as a child always is, an innocent boy and a very nice little boy…I tell you honestly, I just wanted to touch him like a kitten, and that desire of mine ended in that act that you mention.” WTF?!
4. Saint Vladimir Putin
Yes, you read right! The Chapel of Russia’s Resurrection founded in 2007 by Mother Fotina as an all-woman sect believes that Putin is the reincarnation of Paul the Apostle and Saint Vladimir the Great and is himself a living saint. Not even the tsars were worshiped as living saints! Let us just hope he does not take after Saint Theodora…
3. Putin versus Pussy Riot
That is not to say that all Russian women worship Putin. Among Putin’s most vocal critics are a female punk band named Pussy Riot, founded in 2011. The group regards Putin as a dictator, which given that Putin has run Russia as either president or prime minister for the last twenty plus years, does not seem an entirely bogus allegation. The group achieved international notoriety when they protested at an Orthodox Church in Russia in February 2012. The next month, three prominent members of the group members were arrested, denied bail, convicted of hooliganism, and sentenced to two years imprisonment. Amidst international outcries, the women were eventually freed prior to the Winter Olympics held in Russia in February 2014, only to suffer subsequent assaults by angry Russians as recently as March 2014.
2. Putin Wins More Votes than Voters?
In Russia’s most recent presidential election, Putin won with some interesting support. As reporter Bill Neely notes, “look at Precinct 451 in the capital Grozny, where Putin got 1,482 votes and (former Communist leader Gennady) Zyuganov got one. Terrific vote. Except that only 1,389 people were registered to vote in the precinct. That means the turnout was 107 percent.”
1. Aggression toward Neighboring Countries
All of the above pales in comparison to Russia’s interventions in its neighbors’ political turmoil. First, Russia won a decisive victory in the Second Chechen War in the first years of Putin’s administration. Then, in August 2008, Russia invaded Georgia in a war that cost hundreds of lives and also resulted in Russian victory, despite former American presidential candidate John McCain’s claim that “We are all Georgians”. Now, we have the ongoing crisis of the Crimea, which has voted for independence and hoped for annexation by Russia. This latest conflict is perhaps the most concerning as the possibility of American involvement seems greater than what happened in 2008. Indeed, global fears of the conflict escalating are by far the most disturbing of news currently scaring the world… Update, March 2020: With Russia firmly in control of the Crimea, the land grab has spread to other parts of the Ukraine that Russia is attempting to also annex. Fighting between the Ukrainian army and Russians continues and has played a part in the American political picture that led to the impeachment of Donald Trump.
And to make matters worse, should a war erupt, we Americans no longer have Sarah Palin as governor as our first line of defense!
Question for students (and subscribers): In any event, we have already had one Crimean War, but do you think we will have another in 2014? Should Britain and America come to the Ukraine’s defense should a war break out? Would a war between the United States and Russia have to be a nuclear war? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Levine, Steve. Putin’s Labyrinth: Spies, Murder, and the Dark Heart of the New Russia. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2009.
Morgan, Stephen. Pussy Riot vs Putin: Revolutionary Russia. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.
Putin, Lyudmila. The Benevolent Deeds of Vladimir Putin. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013.
Van Herpen, Marcel H. Putin’s Wars: The Rise of Russia’s New Imperialism. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014.
The featured image in this article, a photograph of Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin visiting the Taj Mahal, comes from the website of the President of the Russian Federation and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. In short: you are free to distribute and modify the file as long as you attribute www.kremlin.ru. Note: Works published on site before April 8, 2014 are also licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
You can also watch a video version of this article on YouTube.