We Need to Talk About Putin by Mark Galeotti

We Need to Talk About Putin by Mark Galeotti – Why the West Gets Him Wrong, and How to Get Him Right – is a good book. Very short, at under 150 pages, I think it is really worth reading. I decided to publish the review today because russia is celebrating their so-called victory in the ‘Great Patriotic War’, as they, very conveniently ignore the 1939-1941 period when they were allies with the Nazis and invaded European countries.

We Need to Talk About Putin by Mark Galeotti

The book is very interesting for a western audience. Galeotti challenges the idea that putin is a mastermind that plays on the international stage similarly to a chess player, but instead he is a judoka that takes advantage of the other’s strengthens to bring them down. It was a good analogy.

Also, Galeotti asks if putin really knows what is happening around him because of the toxic nature of the russian politics that putin created. Other topics, such as money and family are covered too. Knowing putin, matters because making false assumptions and seeing more of a strategist than he is means the west is drawing up their own red lines.

While I don’t agree with everything he said, especially his views that the russians are victims too. They have access to internet, many came to the west and found out that this Patriotic War of theirs was started by them and was won with vital support from US and the allies. russians are happy to see themselves as better than anyone and they were pretty happy with the wars in Chechnya and Georgia, with the annexation of Crimea, and the continued war in Donbas. This was written before the full-scale invasion, but there were enough wars before that for russians to ask themselves if they are the good guys or invaders trying to conquer parts of other countries.

Overall the book is really interesting. As I said, especially for an western audience who might not be familiar with the communist thinking that the eastern Europeans had the unfortunate task to deal with. I liked the ending too, when he mentions, albeit briefly, Navalny.

We Need to Talk About Putin by Mark Galeotti

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Ebury
Year it was published: 2019
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Biography
Pages: 143

About the author: Educated at Cambridge University and the LSE, he is the director of the consultancy firm Mayak Intelligence. He is also an Honorary Professor at UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies, Ernest Bevin Associate Fellow in Euro-Atlantic Geopolitics with the Council on Geostrategy and a Senior Associate Fellow at RUSI, as well as a senior non-resident fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague and an Associate Fellow of the Middle East Institute’s Frontier Europe programme. Previously he has been a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, Head of the Centre for European Security at the Institute of International Relations Prague, Professor of Global Affairs at New York University, head of the History department at Keele University in the UK, an adviser at the British Foreign Office and a visiting professor at MGIMO (Moscow), Charles University (Prague) and Rutgers (Newark), as well as a visiting fellow with the ECFR.
Books: The Weaponisation of Everything (2022), A Short History of Russia (2021), We Need To Talk About Putin (2019), and The Vory: Russia’s super mafia (2018).
Website & Social Media Links: inmoscowsshadows

4 thoughts on “We Need to Talk About Putin by Mark Galeotti”

  • I think there are many Russians who want to speak out, but are frightened of reprisals. However, there are even more who are totally brainwashed by Putin and would follow him to the bitter end. I believe it is the same in Russia, as in so many other hotspots around the World – until people are within a country are willing to come out in enough numbers to raise their voices for what they really believe in, then nothing is going to fundamentally change. Populations shouldn’t make themselves refugees and flee to other countries, they have to fight repression from within. Russia is another of those countries who will record history to suit their own viewpoint and are only too willing to conveniently forget the fact that they spent most of WWII invading and occupying neighbouring eastern European countries alongside the German Nazis. I don’t think Putin is a mastermind, he is simply a bullying tyrant!
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    • I agree with you that russians in russia might fear talking openly. The issue is that russians in other countries, like UK, are not protesting against what putin is doing, hence why I’m writing russians without a capital r.

      Dealing with the darker parts of history is hard, especially if it was hidden from us growing up. I had no idea how many Jews were persecuted and killed by Romanians in WWII, I only found out while going to lectures at Liverpool. I felt guilty, even if I was born many decades after it happened. I shared what I learned with people close to me who didn’t know either, as it was never taught in school.

    • The book is about how putin is seen by the west, less so about russians. My view is that they are not victims.

      I read what Navalny supporters are saying, also POWs, and ordinary russians. If you are curious, search “1420 russian” channel on youtube. There is a guy that interviews regular people. Some are afraid to talk, but many are happy to say what they feel.
      Today I read about Navalny’s team report published recently, on corruptions in the military. They were concerned that money were stolen, that would have been used in the war, to kill Ukrainians. It’s incredibly bad optics at least.

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