Susan Glasser is an experienced US journalist and author of the 2005 book “Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia And The End Of Revolution. In an interview with RFE/RL’s Georgian Service, Veteran US journalist talks about Vladimir Putin’s evolution from “incrementalism” to “messianism,” authoritarianism and the “Russian river” of history, and Putin and the Ukraine war in the context of looming U.S. elections.
US Journalist Susan Glasser on Navigating Putin’s Political Evolution, Authoritarianism, and the Ukraine Quagmire
In an interview with Radio Free Europe, US Journalist Susan Glasser mentione about Vladimir Putin’s political evolution, leadership style, and the Ukraine conflict. The US journalist mentioned that Putin has surprised observers by becoming the longest-serving leader of Russia since Josef Stalin and forming unexpected alliances with China. His leadership style has evolved to be more personalized and messianic, resembling a successor to the tsars, with a cult of personality reminiscent of Soviet leaders like Lenin and Stalin.
The US journalist also notes that Putin’s rise may be seen as a response to popular sentiment in Russia, where he was perceived as a natural fit for a return to a more authoritarian state after the tumultuous Yeltsin years. Glasser mentioned that many people, both in Russia and the West, were initially fooled by Putin’s early rhetoric, which included mentioning words like “democracy” in his first inaugural address, but he shifted away from these ideals over time.
Moreover, regarding Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, the US jounalist highlights that it may have aligned with his geopolitical goals but was a significant miscalculation. Putin failed to anticipate strong resistance from Ukraine, the unity it fostered among Ukrainians, and negative consequences for Russia, including pushing Finland and Sweden towards NATO. He also underestimated the United States’ response, possibly influenced by his own propaganda, and misjudged President Joe Biden’s actions.
The US Journalist Susan Glasser also discussed about the potential end of Putinism and the challenges associated with it. They suggest that Putin’s rule could end gradually, akin to the “gradually, then suddenly” metaphor, rather than abruptly. However, there are few power centers within Russia capable of deposing Putin, and the recent invasion of Ukraine has increased repression and stifled opposition.
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US Journalist Susan Glasser Insights on Putinism’s Deep Roots in Russia and the Potential Impact of the 2024 U.S. Election
In the interview, the US journalist expressesed skepticism that the end of Putin’s rule would automatically mean the end of Putinism, as it has deeply rooted itself in Russian society over the past two decades. Glasser also point out that Putin may be responsible for the strategy but not directly involved in actions like war crimes in Ukraine.
Regarding U.S. elections, the US journalist suggested that the fate of the Ukraine war hinges on the 2024 U.S. election, especially if former President Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee. Trump’s past statements about ending the Ukraine war quickly are viewed as hyperbole, and during his presidency, he faced political constraints in dealing with Russia and Ukraine. There is concern that if Trump returns to power, he might seek to eliminate these constraints.
However, it’s unlikely that Trump could change American support for Ukraine, as both Republicans and Democrats generally back Ukraine. US Journalist Susan Glasseralso notes that Putin did not engage in ego-stroking with Trump, unlike other world leaders who recognized Trump’s need for flattery. Putin appeared somewhat disdainful of Trump during their meetings, possibly because world leaders were uncomfortable with Trump’s volatility and unpredictability, preferring stability in the international system.