Policy Memos

Putin: A New de Gaulle?

Policy Memo:


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In the weeks leading up to his election as president of Russia in March 2000, journalists asked Vladimir Putin which political leaders he found “most interesting.” They took his first answer, Napoleon Bonaparte, as a joke, so he offered Charles de Gaulle as his second choice. One can easily see the appeal of the French general who came to power in the wake of the failed Fourth Republic, determined to revive France’s grandeur, to “restore state authority,” as he put it, and to create a strong, centralized, presidential republic. From the start, Putin had expressed similar aspirations for Russia. [...]