Vladimir Putin is a dark character, straight out of a novel by Dostoevsky. His whole coterie of kleptocrats and thugs and neo-fascists come across as though they were the realisation in actuality of Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground or The Possessed. The question hanging in the balance, as we fly into 2023, is what could possibly be an appropriate punishment for the carnage and destruction he has inflicted on Ukraine?
John Sweeney, a veteran war correspondent and prolific author, has written a new book, from the front lines in Ukraine, about Putin and his crimes. For anyone who continues to give the Russian tyrant the slightest benefit of doubt, this book is required reading. …
He makes three other absolutely crucial points, in forensic detail:
- Putin’s regime is a massive kleptocracy, driven from the top by him, the uber kleptocrat.
- His regime has used guns and poisons, including Polonium-210 and Novichok, to assassinate leading journalists, political oppositionists and defectors.
- He sits on the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, threatening to use it if pushed. He is, in short, a terrifyingly dangerous international criminal of the highest order.
Sweeney marshals fairly persuasive evidence that Putin is seriously ill with some kind of cancer that is being treated with steroids. He worries that the man, a psychopath on drugs, losing face and possibly dying, may “push the button” and take many of us down with him. …
Had Hitler possessed nuclear weapons in 1945, there is every reason to believe he would have used them, regardless of the consequences.
There are lots of psychopaths in national leadership, especially in authoritarian countries. How do we stop this from happening?