(Vladimir) Putin on the Ritz

01 Mar 2012

Markus Brauck and Matthias Schepp for Spiegel Online:

The filmmaker manages to establish considerable intimacy with the prime minister, who is aiming to once again become president, but without being taken in by him. He also manages to break through the facade that Putin might have been hoping to present. Putin plays the tough guy, while Seipel shows that there is a certain weakness and sadness to always having to play this role.

There are few people who would dispute that Putin is the most powerful person in Russia – although many may disagree on the legitimacy of his authority – but strength does not guarantee happiness and force does not ensure love. It is easy enough to imagine the loneliness that comes with his style of leadership although such imaginings are usually reserved for post-politcs memoirs or whispered stories behind closed doors. Rare is the opportunity to actually be witness to powerful leaders in moments of privacy.

Not that I pretend to pity the man. He is a brutal dictator pretending to wear the trappings of a democrat, trappings that he is increasingly showing open disdain for. I have not yet decided whether it is worthwhile to acknowledge that he is a human being, capable of joys and sorrows, just like the rest of us, but until I come to some conclusion on that, I will continue to marvel at instances of unexpected honesty from heroes and villains that set themselves as greater than the rest of us.

(Via The Morning News)