Putin’s Great Year

July 9, 2016 – Portrait of current president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin (born on 7 October 1952). Russian text translation top: President of the Russian Federation, bottom: V. V. PUTIN.

By Steven L. Hall

Steven L. Hall retired from the Central Intelligence Agency in 2015 after 30 years of running and managing intelligence operations in Eurasia and Latin America.  Mr. Hall served as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service, the small cadre of officers who are the senior-most leaders of the CIA's Clandestine Service.  Most of Mr. Hall's career was spent abroad, overseeing intelligence operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union and the former Warsaw Pact.

A recent poll conducted by a Russian polling group, suggests that domestic trust in Vladimir Putin is at its lowest level in more than a decade.

Still, it’s important to remember that those numbers might not matter so much to Putin himself, since winning a landslide election last year – essentially a license to lead for another six years.  And on the international stage, its shaping up to be a pretty good year for the Russian leader.  He has so far escaped, without much bruising, from a botched GRU effort to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the UK last year, and has a new bargaining chip with Washington in the form of American Paul Whelan, arrested recently on espionage charges. 

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