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Miles Seeley Gives us information on Putin's background:
"Putin does not have any of the charisma associated with a natural leader. He is more of an apparatchik who got lucky and attached himself to an influential man or two after an otherwise undistinguished career. He is known as a backstage manipulator, but he seems to be emerging now as a confident speaker. In his KGB career he was in the First Chief Directorate (Foreign Intelligence). In Germany he was supposed to recruit sources to furnish information on threats to the Soviet Union, primarily "The Main Enemy" (ie the USA). It seems he did not shine doing that, and was then posted to a front organization as liaison and researcher. Although he attended the prestigious Red Banner KGB Academy, he never rose above Lt. Colonel. He left the KGB because by his own admission his career was stalled. However, later he was named as Chief of the FSB, the KGB successor, and he apparently took great delight in being the boss of the many officers who had much more distinguished intelligence careers.
In short, an opportunist and manipulator. Smart, tough-minded, ruthlessly ambitious. He will be difficult for us to deal with, but he will probably be a pragmatist."
Ronald Hilton - 3/30/00