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Russia: Putin the Historian

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Museum of Contemporary History in Moscow after a meeting with young historians and history teachers in November 2014. According to a number of biographical accounts, history was Putin’s favorite subject in school, and he appears to retain a keen interest in history right up to the present day. (Photo: Russian Presidential Press Service)

According to a number of biographical accounts, history was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s favorite subject in school, and he appears to retain a keen interest in history right up to the present day.
 
If we are to believe the president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, Putin remains a voracious reader, devouring dozens of books on Russian history. But Putin, of course, is not just a modest student of the past. He seems to aspire to be also a manufacturer and manipulator of it.
 
Nikolai Zlobin, a Washington-based political analyst, has asserted that each of Putin’s presidential terms had its own “governing idea.” The first was mainly about politics, as the Kremlin was striving to consolidate Russia’s “state sovereignty” and restore centralized control over the country by forging the so-called “vertical of power.”
 
The second was about economics, with Putin’s administration preoccupied with building state capitalism – beefing up the muscle of the country’s state-run energy majors with the aim of turning Russia into an “energy super power.”
 

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Igor Torbakov is Senior Fellow at Uppsala University and at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs in Stockholm, Sweden.

Russia: Putin the Historian

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