The recent occupation of Crimea and eastern cities of Ukraine have left many people wondering why President Vladimir Putin has chose this time. So soon after the Sochi Olympics to create global chaos. Looking at a number of factors about the man and his country enlightens us about his motives and his chances for success
Vladimir Putin, whose stern, ultra-macho look has been in the media frequently in recent days, is a figure that appears to seek prominence on the world stage by whatever means he can muster. The current occupation of the Crimea and several eastern Ukrainian cities has created an air of tension and foreboding in areas of Eastern Europe. A look at this man, his background and the driving forces in his culture can give us insight into why he has provoked the current tensions.
Born In Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, in 1952, Vladimir Putin grew up as an only child. His father was a foreman in a metal factory, and his mother was a housewife. Though his father was a militant atheist, his mother held devout beliefs in the Orthodox Christian faith and had her child secretly baptized. Later, in life, Putin re-discovered his faith though he speaks little of it in public.
Putin began to study law at Leningrad State University, but took a position in the KGB, the Russian equivalent of the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States, after graduation. He was with the KGB for 16 years before becoming involved in the political affairs of the country.
Putin met and married his wife Lyudmilla Shrebneva in the 198os in East German, where he was working In the KGB. They have two daughters, Mariya and Yekaterina, who have spent almost no time in the public eye. Over the years, Rain has been romantically linked with a number of women. He divorced his wife of 30 years in 2014.
Rise To Prominence
In the 19905, Putin took a job at the Leningrad State University and became involved in the political life of the city under Mayor Anatoly Sobchak. He held posts under Russian President Boris Yeltzin and became head of the Federal Security Service, the successor organization to the KGB. In 1999, President Yeltzin chose Putin to act as acting prime minister. When Yeltzin resigned a few months later, he again chose Putin as acting president until the upcoming election, which Putin won.
Two Terms As Russian President
Putin enjoyed great popularity during his terms as president, largely because he always took great pains to keep a strong Image in the Russian media. His first term as president was marked by undermining the power of the Russian oligarchs and gaining the support of some of them. The Kursk submarine disaster occurred during Putin’s first term, as well as the Moscow theater hostage crisis in which 13o hostages were killed. His quashing of the rebels in Chechnya increased his status as a strong leader among his people. During his second term as president, he devoted his energies to the expansion of the Russian energy industry and the manufacture of ships and airplanes Throughout the z000s, Putin sought to work with other world leaders to an extent. However, Russia was always firmly allied Iran and Syria, selling vast amount of Russian arms to these countries.
Time As Prime Minister
Because of term limits Putin could run for another term of office. Instead, he was given the position of prime minister by the subsequent president, Dmitry Medvedev, securing the alliance between the two men and leading many to wonder if Putin still held the reins of power.
Third Term as President of Russia
Putin was re-elected as President of Russia in May of 2012. Although he gamered more the 6o percent of the vote, questions remained about the transparency of the election. Protests marred both the election and the post-election periods Russia’s prominence on the world stage during the Sochi Olympic Games gave Putin an opportunity to enhance his country’s prestige. However, soon after the games ended, Putin moved un-uniformed troops into the Crimea in a bold takeover of the territory that was given to Ukraine in 1964. This action through global relations into chaos, as western nations pondered howto deal with a Russian leader that appeared to be returning to itsi9sos role as occupier of neighboring countries.
The Russian Economy
A number of theories arose about why Putin decided to begin taking action against neighboring states. In his third term as president, Putin might seeking ways enhance his image with the public. The Russian public still stings from the loss of territories that occurred during the breakup of the U.S.S.R. during the 1990 5. The recovery of some of these areas might help to allow Russians to re-experience at least the illusion of their former greatness. These territories are less likely to complaisantly accept occupation as previous countries did, and the effort of keeping them in line may end up to be more expensive than the Russian people expected. The Russian economy depends heavily on revenues from its energy resources. If Europe is able to find ways to supplant Russian resources, the entire country will feel the pinch of harder times, a prospect that neither the people nor Putin desire.
Russia’s Position in the World As long as Putin can accomplish the “stealth” takeovers of neighboring areas without heavy expense in terms of money and lives, he is likely to continue to see how far he can go. However, these occupations may be of short duration if Russia cannot provide some economic advantage to the areas being taken. The greater pressure sanctions put on the Russian economy, the less there will be to share with these areas, which means the Putin expansion maybe short-lived and mainly for prestige purposes.