I'm excited to get back to you with another post. Vladimir Putin served in the KGB from 1975 to 1991. He became President of Russia in 2000, serving two terms. Because Russian law prohibits the same president serving three consecutive terms, Putin then served as Prime Minister (from 2008). He won his third presidential term in March of this year.
On the whole, the past twelve years have been marvelous for Russia's economy. That's what the numbers say, anyway. How a given Russian's life has changed over that period - well, I can't say.
Many people suspect Russia intends to return to superpower status - simultaneous with America's decline. I don't know Putin's personal feelings on this matter (does anyone?), but I doubt he'd mind.
With the emergence of the BRIC countries, it's hard to imagine exactly what form a modern superpower would take. I don't think America is one any more; its economy can no longer bear it.
To a kid who grew up on military bases in the 70s and 80s, an imperial Russia makes sense. Even with the absurd stockpiles of nuclear warheads the Russians had (as well as the Yanks), nothing ever happened.
Returning from Bosnia in the late '90s, my father was changed. He didn't explain all aspects, but did eventually note that the Slavic peoples have a different way of thinking from ours in the West. The difference begins, he theorized, with the language.
Dad spent more than five years in Bosnia, but barely picked up two words of the language there. This, from an Anglophone whose French is decent. He proposes that the language in Bosnia is so different, the thought patterns may also be different. He suspects the Slavic languages probably all carry that general difference to ours.
The Russians have rarely managed to be boring. I think a Russian revival will be very interesting - especially with Putin at the helm.
Looking good, Vladimir! The best picture of you, though, is that fly-fishing one.
Wikipedia was a source: here and here.