‘We Know How to Defend Our Interests’: Putin’s Emerging Hard Line
With an air of moral superiority, the Russian president seems intent on teaching President Biden and other Western leaders a lesson.
Now in his third decade in power, Mr. Putin, 68, appears more convinced than ever of his special, historic role as the father of a reborn Russian nation, fighting at home and abroad against a craven, hypocritical, morally decaying West.“This sense of superiority mixed with arrogance gives him a feeling of power, and this is dangerous,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian analyst who has studied Mr. Putin for years. “When you think you are more powerful and more wise than everyone else around you, you think you have a certain historical mandate for more wide-ranging action.”
Ms. Stanovaya, the analyst, says she is convinced that Mr. Putin himself is more interested than his hawkish advisers in looking for ways to work with the United States. She explained her view by pointing to Mr. Putin’s determination to return Russia to the ranks of great powers.
“Putin very much believes in his mission as a great, historic figure with responsibility not only for Russia, but also for global security,” Ms. Stanovaya said. “He doesn’t understand how it is that the American president doesn’t feel the same way.”