Making History More Accessible…
and Sometimes Stunningly Informative, (part 2)

In part 1, I dug through the interactive transcripts in the Rutherfurd Living History archive for quotes from as long as 37 years ago that resonate today.

It’s also informative to compare similarities.

In a previous post I pointed to a couple of quotes from PBS FRONTLINE’s The Putin Files – the interactive source interviews from the 2017 documentary Putin’s Revenge. In those examples, Journalist Julia Ioffe mentions a couple of things about Russian President Vladimir Putin that are stunningly Trump-like.

Here are some more quotes along those lines from the Putin Files – this time from journalist and author Masha Gessen:

There aren’t a lot of things that are extraordinary about Putin, but his greed is truly extraordinary.

The city council investigation concluded that Putin needed to be prosecuted, but that required an order from the mayor to allow the prosecution of his deputy. Instead of allowing that, the mayor actually disbanded the city council and proceeded to govern by decree for about a year and a half.

Personal loyalty was very much the currency of public men.

Basically, he’s projecting one main myth about himself, which is that he’s a thug. The story that he keeps telling over and over again, and that his friends tell, the sort of the vetted stories by friends in the book, are all stories about Putin getting into fights, and they all unfold according to the same scenario. He lashes out when he feels wronged, and then he quiets down, and everybody thinks it’s over. And then, when they least expect it, he lunges again.

He has so much trouble controlling his temper, that he will risk everything that he’s worked for in life for an opportunity to vengefully lash out.

Countries don’t militarize in order to be peaceful. For a lot of people, though, it was a signal that they were going back to something that was familiar and comfortable, both on a private level, which is that you would do the same—their children would be doing the same things that they did as children, right, but much more importantly on a public level, so that they would have a chance to identify with a great country again. He would make Russia great again.


And here’s one from Yevgenia Albats, editor-in-chief of the Moscow-based independent political weekly The New Times, on business and politics in Russia:

We can go one by one, and I will be able to show you that all the major institutions, all the major businesses that [are] connected with oil and gas or with telecommunications or with financial transactions, especially those that are responsible for the cash in-and-out flow, they’re all controlled by the KGB people. Basically, as I said, what we have in Russia now, it is that the state within the state became the state; that the state, that the corporation by the name KGB regained its power, and on the bigger scale than it had during the Soviet Union.


And two from Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza:

I just happen to remember that day really vividly because Russia is a country of symbols, and if you begin your tenure by honoring somebody like Andropov, a symbol of Soviet totalitarian repression, that’s not a very good sign for an upcoming administration.

I think it’s important to recall that the first victim of Vladimir Putin’s regime was independent media.