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Psychological Profile of Vladimir Putin Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 16th, 2022

Foreign affairs can be regarded as a complex process of developing relationships on diverse levels. The relationships between the USA and the Russian Federation have always been complex, which has often been associated with the personalities of these countries’ leaders.1 Vladimir Putin has been in power since the early 2000s.2 This paper includes a brief analysis of Putin’s psychological profile and some views regarding possible techniques for good cooperation for the United States and other countries.

The Soviet ideology, with its militarism and imperialism, formed Vladimir Putin’s underpinnings.3 His numerous references to the Soviet past unveil his attitude towards the ideology and the methodology that were typical of the USSR. For the Russian president, the central power of Moscow is seen as the only possible way of the development of the region. The fall of the Soviet Union and the events in Eastern Germany, where Putin served as a KGB officer, became the greatest shock for him.4 When recalling that period, Putin noted that the country “had a terminal disease without a cure – a paralysis of power.”5 The further analysis of Vladimir Putin’s profile is grounded on these major peculiarities of his worldview.

One of his strengths as a politician is being a good tactician who manages to use certain opportunities to enhance his influence over some figures. For instance, he has contributed considerably to the enhancement of the tension between the USA and the EU.6 Vladimir Putin manages to use the controversies in different parties’ positions and use them to improve his stance. The investment in radical parties across the western world and pro-Russian forces in the former Soviet republics also helped Putin to corrupt the west and promote his political agenda.

However, one of the greatest weaknesses of the president is his inability to think strategically.7 The analysis of his public speeches suggests that his confrontation with the west became pronounced after the crisis in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.8 During his first presidential term, Putin declared liberal values that were consistent with the western democratic approach. Furthermore, the way President Putin reacts in such situations as political crises in Ukraine, Belarus, or Armenia shows Putin’s focus on short-term goals, such as keeping the regimes intact, instead of developing long-term strategies aimed at keeping the countries within the Russian orbit. Moreover, some personal traits can also be regarded as Putin’s weaknesses, affecting the decisions he makes. For instance, he is resentful and vindictive, which affects his relationships with others, including world leaders.9

The ability (or rather inability and unwillingness) to compromise is one of Putin’s characteristic features. His focus on the image of a strong leader and seeing compromises as a manifestation of weakness result in his unwillingness to achieve win-win situations.10 Russian President tries to force others to agree on what is offered rather than look for mutual gains and the satisfaction of all stakeholders. This inability to look for and agree to the middle ground can be illustrated by Putin’s geopolitical views. He emphasizes that post-Soviet countries (for example, Georgia and Ukraine) can’t be a part of the EU or NATO and retain their membership in such international institutions as the Eurasian Customs Union.11

The USA is trying to develop effective relations with the Russian Federation due to its economic potential, as well as its proximity to and established political and economic ties with the EU that is the US’s strategic partner. Therefore, the economic balance in the region is within the scope of American interests.12 Finally, Russia has a significant political and economic influence on many countries in the area, which should also be taken into account. Russian most recent activities in the region have led to a considerable imbalance.

Putin has an avid but rather specific interest in the USA and its politics. The United States has a substantial influence on global politics and economy, making it one of the key players in the global arena. At that, Vladimir Putin sees the USA as an opponent or even a hostile state.13 President Putin stresses that American leaders use hostile strategies aimed at restraining the Russian Federation from economic, military, and political development.14 Russian President also sees democratic values as rather weak and tries to restore the Soviet-like order, as well as values.

The potential collaboration points can be economic and military. Russia can be a good economic partner due to vast natural resources and a comparatively cheap labor force. The Russian Federation is also a promising market if its political agenda changes. However, these cooperation points become unavailable due to Russian elite’s perspectives leading to serious clashing points. Putin wants to retain control over the post-Soviet region (and even beyond) and be an equal player in the global arena.15 The Russian elites are trying to prevent their neighbors from building democratic societies integrated into world cooperation. They maintain their influence through corruption, direct investment in the so-called pro-Russian political parties, and, in many cases, military force.

These clashing points and Putin’s approach towards foreign affairs pose significant threats to US national security. The intrusion of Russian intelligence into the American elections of 2016, as well as election campaigns in other European countries, is an illustration of some of these hazards.16 Russian hackers also attempted to attack diverse objects in the USA, including the educational system. President Putin supports Bashar Assad in Syria, which increases the tension in the Middle East, and caused a major immigration crisis in Europe. The rise of extremism across the globe is one of the consequences of this kind of support.

Based on this analysis, it is possible to consider some techniques for the most appropriate cooperation for the US and the Russian Federation. The US President and leaders should offer diverse projects for economic and cultural cooperation with Russia, but all these projects should be transparent and based on clear rules and legal standards. At the same time, American leaders should respond to every inappropriate activity, such as hacker attacks and intrusions in the political processes of the USA or its partners. The involvement of Russia in military conflicts across the globe should also evoke the corresponding reactions. It is possible to develop sanctions for specific individuals from the closest circle of Vladimir Putin’s friends.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that Vladimir Putin is a leader of a country that still has a certain influence in the Eurasian region. Russian President tried to show his commitment to liberal values during his first years in power. Nevertheless, after 20 years of his presidency, Putin sees the USA and the rest of the western world as hostile rivals that are eager to prevent Russia’s development. At that, the Russian economy is integrated into the world economy, and the country has vast natural resources. American leaders should always offer cooperation to Russian elites but use different means to make Russia’s inappropriate and disastrous actions impossible.

Bibliography

Derman, Giray Saynur, and Hande Oba. “Reading the Moves of the Leaders on the Eurasian Chessboard: Comparative Operational Code Analysis of Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” International Journal of Business Perspectives & Social Sciences Information 1, no. 1 (2017): 2-18.

Dyson, Stephen Benedict, and Matthew J. Parent. Intelligence and National Security 33, no. 1 (2017): 84-100.

Eggert, Konstantin. DW, 2020.

Eltchaninoff, Michel. Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin. London: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Hill, Fiona, and Clifford G. Gaddy. Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin. Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2015.

Wright, Robin. The New Yorker, 2018.

Footnotes

  1. Konstantin Eggert, “Opinion: Why Putin Is in No Hurry to Congratulate Biden,” DW. Web.
  2. Stephen Benedict Dyson and Matthew J. Parent, “The Operational Code Approach to Profiling Political Leaders: Understanding Vladimir Putin,” Intelligence and National Security 33, no. 1 (2017): 84. Web.
  3. Michel Eltchaninoff, Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin (London: Oxford University Press, 2018), 17.
  4. Dyson and Parent, “The Operational Code Approach,” 92.
  5. Dyson and Parent, “The Operational Code Approach,” 92.
  6. Dyson and Parent, “The Operational Code Approach,” 94.
  7. Dyson and Parent, “The Operational Code Approach,” 94.
  8. Dyson and Parent, “The Operational Code Approach,” 94.
  9. Robin Wright, “Putin, a Little Man Still Trying to Prove His Bigness,” The New Yorker. Web.
  10. Wright, “Putin, a Little Man.”
  11. Eltchaninoff, Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin, 35.
  12. Eggert, “Opinion: Why Putin.”
  13. Eltchaninoff, Inside the Mind of Vladimir Putin, 6.
  14. Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy, Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2015), 79.
  15. Giray Saynur Derman and Hande Oba, “Reading the Moves of the Leaders on the Eurasian Chessboard: Comparative Operational Code Analysis of Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” International Journal of Business Perspectives & Social Sciences Information 1, no. 1 (2017): 2.
  16. Eggert, “Opinion: Why Putin.”
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IvyPanda. "Psychological Profile of Vladimir Putin." June 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/psychological-profile-of-vladimir-putin/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Psychological Profile of Vladimir Putin." June 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/psychological-profile-of-vladimir-putin/.

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