Posted BY: Allan J. Feifer

I have always felt compelled to stand up to bullies, tyrants, pretenders, and those who take advantage of others who can’t or won’t fight back. It’s that way when I look at Putin. Putin has mastered the art of the stare-down. His malevolent glance has been known to make people physically sick. With his love of theater, like the huge table he sits at with his visitors sitting twenty feet away and in a room of such opulence, you must believe that Putin thinks of himself as some kind of demi-god.

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An early belief in his own exceptionalism defines Putin. His small stature led him to learn Judo at an early age, and then he buckled down and received top grades in school, where he learned to speak German. While there is little reliable information on Putin’s past, at least two sources seem to agree that Putin wanted to join the KGB at an early age. After initially being snubbed, he cultivated a relationship with the influential Anatoly Sobchak, who was one of Putin’s professors in college and was connected to the Soviet’s political apparatus. By all accounts, Putin may have found the KGB a bit boring. Nevertheless, he spent more than 15 years there, no doubt involved in at least some skullduggery. One unverified story alleged that during his time posted in East Germany, Putin used both honey traps and pornography to try and recruit agents. Ultimately, sources say, Putin honed his persona and moved on to the next phase of his life.

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