I never saw Putin when I lived in Moscow, but I remember seeing his face everywhere. I will never forget walking into a smallish bookshop and seeing his novel, “Judo: History, Theory, Practice” for the first and not the last time. It had an impression on me because I had heard stories that he was a great KGB spy with a skill set in martial arts, shooting, manipulation, and infiltration, who was a killer, who was a “real man,” and most importantly, who was very dangerous. He was basically the villain of every James Bond movie, and now the President of Russia. I thought, “Wow, what a man to elect in such a powerful position, what shady connections he must have, what things he must do to those who oppose him.”
The documentary, “Palace for Putin” by Alexey Navalny, who recently recovered from a nerve agent attack and was arrested in Moscow by the same people he accused of his attempted assassination, describes the romanization of Putin’s origin story. From a petty officer in a not uncommon foreign relations role, to spy who “infiltrated the enemy.” Presidential myths are fascinating! What kind of myths do you think we have for American Presidents?