Vladimir Putin: the KGB President?
Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
54Trip End Ongoing
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Some of you will know that I was in Moscow with my family during 1991-97 working for IBM. So I have an abiding interest in this country, and I decided to attend the lecture, even though it meant staying in Jackson a few days more than I had intended.
Fiona Hill is of British origin, daughter of a coalminer, and during one of the great coalminers' strikes in the 1980s, she went to the Soviet Union at age 19 to learn Russian. The initiative, one of several similar, came from Soviet coalminers who wanted to show solidarity with their British 'comrades'. Now at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., she has written a book with a co-author, Clifford G
Her lecture lasted little over an hour and was structured around several Putin 'profiles' (just like the book): The Statist, The History Man, The Survivalist, The Outsider, The Free Marketeer, and The Case Officer. Afterwards there was a Q & A session. There were probably 150 people in attendance (amazing considering that Jackson has a population of less than 10,000). Someone in the audience wanted to know how rich Putin is. Nobody (except Putin) knows, of course But he is probably very rich. He is also proud of the fact that Russia has more billionaires per capita than any other country. This position is strange to me. When you go 100 miles outside Moscow or Saint Petersburg into the countryside, it's like going back into the 19th century. After the lecture I purchased the book. We spoke briefly, and I had her write a dedication in it. I didn't know her name beforehand, but she seems to be a frequent commentator on Russian affairs in the media.
I've enjoyed a couple of relaxed days in the Jackson Hole area. The Tetons are fantastic - morning, afternoon, evening, and night. When I'm finished with today's travelblog, I'll head north in the direction of Yellowstone. I doubt that WiFi signals can be intercepted inside the park, so you will probably hear from me next time, when I'm out of the park and somewhere in Montana.