Putin’s Scary Evolution From Pragmatist To Megalomaniac

As we watch the dangerous developments in Crimea and now in the rest of Ukraine, we have to ask ourselves whether we misjudged Vladimir Putin when he took office in 1999 as a competent, rational actor who, though deeply mired in KGB’s grim Soviet history, had a realistic view of the world and accepted Russia’s 20th century failures, and especially its fall from superpower status in 1989. Back in those days Putin chose wise advisers, including the liberal economist Alexei Kudrin and the political junkie Vladislav Surkov. But now a new Putin has seemingly emerged who has only one advisor, himself.