August 10th, 2013
09:37 PM ET

'Putin chiefly concerned with what's good for Putin'

Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Chrystia Freeland, former Moscow bureau chief for the Financial Times, about U.S.-Russia tensions.

When President Obama says, I'm trying to look forward and I sometimes feel like they slip back into the Cold War, I do think there’s something to this, in the sense that this is not the most sensible strategy for Russia.

If you look at Russia's national interests, what are their big problems? Their big problem is Islamic radicalism to their south. Their other big problems are the long border with China that they've always had.  They need the West in ways that would serve Russia's national interests, but don't serve Putin's particular power interests.

Putin is not chiefly concerned about what's good for Russia. He is chiefly concerned with what is good for Putin. And that's where I think, actually, the Cold War analogy is not quite right.

We are not living in this dual power world in which Moscow is the capital of the Soviet Union and is seeking to control a big part of the world.  We are living with a Russia which is a much smaller, relatively economically and militarily much weaker country. And a country in which, for all his power, Vladimir Putin doesn't have the Communist Party machine to control his country. He is much more comparable to these sort of classic authoritarian rulers whose control is brittle.

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Topics: GPS Show • Russia

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Quinton

    This broad Chrystia Freeland is describing Vladimir Putin to be like our own President Obama "who is willing to do only what's right for himself". Unlike Obama and 90% of Congress who are on the take, Vladimir Putin in this case is doing the right thing here by not throwing Edward Snowden under the bus as demanded by Obama and his henchmen! On the other hand, if Boris Yeltsin was still in office, he would have turned Edward Snowden over within three hours, the wimp!

    August 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply
    • Tim S

      Interesting how you have blocked my comments. I have used no vulgaity. Censorship of ideas that you dont want to hear?

      August 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Don't feel bad, Tim. The same thing happens to me and like you, I never use any of that filthy Tea Party lingo and very few of my posts are politically "correct". Quinton above didn't exactly make a politically "correct" post here either but his post shows.

        August 13, 2013 at 8:22 am |
      • rightospeak

        You got it ,Tim. Manipulation of comments to arrive at the desired propaganda value of the article is the aim. The "journalists" serve the oligarchs that own the media ,not the American public. or the Truth.

        August 14, 2013 at 5:28 am |
    • chaika

      I am agree with you 100%! Besides Putin does what is right and good for his Country and his People. I wish our presidents one day will start to think about us, the "regular working' people of America?

      August 12, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Reply
  2. JAL

    We can stare at flashing red indicator lights all day, or just realize that there is a significant deficit of much needed energy and resources in this world. So much that everyone is just plain batty. There are new solutions, but it will take resources to bring out the fresh stocks of new resources.

    August 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Reply
    • JAL

      There needs to be a call for a new large scale international effort to look beyond earth for energy resources. There needs to be enough to go around. Lets get moving.

      August 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Reply
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    August 12, 2013 at 1:42 am | Reply
    • Quinton

      Why did CNN let this idiot(Minkme) above get into this discussion? This stupid post has absolutely nothing to do with the topic in question and unless he has something to say, this brainless idiot should be blocked here and now!

      August 12, 2013 at 10:49 am | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    True, Russia is not as strong as the Soviet Union at the height of its power, Putin contemplates restoring the glorious past of the lost empire.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Putin speaks fondly of the Soviet past.

      August 12, 2013 at 10:33 am | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        He says Russia is unique and treads its own path.

        August 12, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • j. von hettlingen

        In May Putin presented the first "Hero of Labour" medal, which dated back to the Stalin-era.

        August 13, 2013 at 4:50 am |
  5. Peter

    Ref: "Their other big problems are the long border with China that they've always had."

    Russia and China don't have any disputes, they both in fact have economic and military ties and both see Americans movement into the Asia Pacific as a threat.

    August 12, 2013 at 11:34 am | Reply
  6. Tim S

    why cant i respond

    August 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • rightospeak

      Because censors at CNN decided that your comments ,Tim, make too much sense and are in opposition to their propaganda. Do not feel bad. This is how they fear the truth like the Devil fears Holy Water. They are paid to do propaganda and your comments must interfere in that. Occasionally CNN will put some obviously stupid comments to show that their is freedom of comment, but in reality our media is censored and their is NO FREE PRESS OR TV.

      August 14, 2013 at 5:21 am | Reply
  7. Stephen Swain

    Look: Putin is right in the middle of the Russian leadership tradition, Tsarist or Soviet. We cannot expect him to behave in ways that we wish our own people would, but don't. At least our own have a couple hundred years of precedents to draw from. They have no excuse. Putin is just playing out the script that runs in his dreams. He let Snowden in just to put a red-hot sharp stick in Obama's eye, not from any motive of generosity. If the FSB gets something out of it, so much the better. If not, he looks like a tough guy. That's enough for him.

    August 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Reply
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