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So that I could post it here, I have been searching for a very long transcript of a meeting at which Putin spoke two years ago, and that I discovered almost a year ago. Following his remarks, he then engaged in very interesting (and surprising, at times) dialog with others at the meeting (all in the transcript). I think it’s very worth reading in its entirety, despite the significant length, in order to get the a more complete picture of what this man may be all about. Even to the last paragraphs (and particularly there) he talks policy, motivations, etc., and touches on homosexuality, immigration, Syria, etc. – and this was two years ago. You’ll have to wade through his version of the truth, but even with that, it’s still very instructive. Note that this is an annual meeting, and glancing at last year’s and previous years’ versions is equally interesting from a more general standpoint. This one is particularly instructive with respect to Putin, however. (Click the title below for the actual link. The video version is a real-time English translation, but I found it somewhat difficult to listen to. Reading the transcript is much easier and quicker.)

Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

Vladimir Putin took part in the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club. The theme of the club’s anniversary session is Russia’s Diversity for the Modern World.

This presents a Vladimir Putin that we’ve never seen in the American (or even Western European) press, to my knowledge. I was truly amazed as I read the diversity of opinion from others present at the conference, even if most were left-leaning to begin with. Still, I never would have attributed many of the things Putin has to say here, to him. And I was rather surprised at his willingness to entertain opposition from prominent people in a very public setting. Yet our media simply did not carry it – even mention it, to my knowledge at least.

One thing that may be emerging is that Putin MAY not be as interested in taking over the world as he is in preserving Russia as the motherland (as he envisions it). It may explain (not justify though) taking Crimea (back), and trying to get eastern Ukraine. Additionally, it explains why he got the Russian parliament to approve a resolution that they would support any ethnic Russian population that tries to declare itself as separate from their current named country. That would seem consistent with his highly nationalistic tone at this meeting. In a way, he may be less of a threat to us – if we don’t rattle his cage too badly – than we thought. But that’s assuming he isn’t out to take over the world, just “take back” Mother Russia in his view of what the constitutes.

If nothing else, it’s a very interesting intellectual exercise at minimum. And it’s certainly not the Vladimir Putin we’ve come to “know” (as if we ever “know” those kinds of people, whether in our government, theirs, or anyone else’s).

Tolik, based on your last post particularly, I suspect you will greatly appreciate it. It in no way changed my concern about the man in terms of whether I’d give him the keys to the Fed, the “football,” Ft. Knox (assuming there’s actually anything left there anyway), etc. I don’t trust him any more today than I did the day before I first read this transcript last year. But it certainly was instructive reading! And unless I missed it, it appeared that the US missed a significant opportunity to have an official representative there as part of the discussion. That just seemed like a glaring error in judgement to me. Though out of office by then, one might wonder what happened to HIllary’s “reset” policy with Russia? It certainly does not seem to be evident here in what I see as an opportunity missed.