Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not bad for an spy

While he is diminutive (about 1.7 m) he projects steely confidence and strength. Putin is unmistakably Russian, with chiseled facial features and those penetrating eyes. Charm is not part of his presentation of self—he makes no effort to be ingratiating. One senses that he pays constant obeisance to a determined inner discipline. The successor to the boozy and ultimately tragic Boris Yeltsin, Putin is temperate, sipping his wine only when the protocol of toasts and greetings requires it; mostly he just twirls the Montrachet in his glass. He eats little, though he twitchily picks the crusts off the bread rolls on his plate. So writes Time.

He is not a boy scout. And not a 'tedy bear'. He killed some people. But he is the Person of the Year for this magazine.

Putin won the title for taking Russia from chaos to a position of importance in the world today choosing order before freedom. Being Time´s Person of the Year is not necessarily an honor, in Putin’s case.

"Sometimes we get the impression that America does not need friends", complains Putin. But Putin is the fourth Russian leader to be chosen Person of the Year. Joseph Stalin was named twice, in 1939 for signing the alliance that opened the doors for Hitler’s war on Europe and in 1942 for joining the Allies in World War II. In 1957, Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader at the height of the Cold War, won for leading the effort to put the first satellite in space. And in 1989, was Gorbachev.

In his youth he was eager to emulate the intelligence officer characters played on the Soviet screen by actors such as Vyacheslav Tikhonov and Georgiy Zhzhonov. Now is frontpage in EEUU.

Not bad for an spy.

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