CRF Blog

Portrait Putin as a Young Man

by Bill Hayes

In Portrait of the Young Vladimir Putin, Newsweek attempts to explain how Russia’s Putin became the man he is today.

Education was not part of the younger Putin’s idea of success; he has placed a great emphasis on portraying himself as a thug, and in this he has had the cooperation of his childhood friends. By far the largest amount of authorized biographical information available about him concerns the many fistfights of his childhood and youth.

Putin, younger than the thugs he encountered and slight of build, apparently tried to hold his own with them. “If anyone ever insulted him in any way,” a friend recalled, “Volodya would immediately jump on the guy, scratch him, bite him, rip his hair out by the clump — do anything at all never to allow anyone to humiliate him in any way.” Putin’s friends recount a series of fighting stories, the same plot repeating itself year after year. [more]