Vladimir Putin – the Man, the Myth

How the Russian Strong Man Came to Power and Maintains His Grip on It.

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Putin Rides a Bear
Putin Rides a Bear
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This article was updated on 02/24/21.

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He cuts a dashing figure, doesn’t he? But other than the public persona he has crafted for public consumption over the years, who is Vladimir Putin? He was born in 1952 in St. Petersburg (then known as Leningrad).

He attended Leningrad State University, later beginning his career in the KGB as an intelligence officer in 1975 and rose to rank of Colonel.

Vladimir Putin After the KGB Years

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, he left the KGB but Putin proved to have higher ambitions. He rose to the upper ranks of the Russian government, first  joining President Boris Yeltsin’s administration in 1998.

His next rung on the ladder was becoming prime minister in 1999 and later taking over as president. Putin was appointed again to Russian prime minister in 2008. In a volatile and often cutthroat political environment he retained his grasp on power by earning reelection to the presidency in 2012.

His training in the KGB, his ambition, and his wily personality served him well.



Putin Cultivates His Public Image

He holds very high popularity ratings among the Russian people. As of this writing, his approval ratings are consistently over 80 percent, this according to various state and independent polls. So how does he do this when leaders like President Obama never could?

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the return to Russia, the country had lost some of its its status as a superpower. The citizenry understandably felt this and resented it. They needed a hero; this was not something vodka would solve. This was Putin’s hour.

He would prove to have a keen understanding of self-promotion. He has especially embraced photo-ops for public consumption. His goal? To be shown as a Man-of-Action.

Putin poses as a race car driver
Putin poses as a race car driver

Whether he’s driving a race car, performing martial arts (he is always shown body-slamming someone), scuba-diving, hanging out with a biker gang, or romping through the fields showing off his manly bare chest, he’s projecting that image.

Look at me; I am strong, I am victorious, I am Russia. It’s all very psychological and the population eats it up. It’s all a vicarious relationship-he gives them a sort of national pride and they give him the votes. And it shows in the polls.



Vladimir Putin on the World Stage

The Soviet Union controlled vastly more real estate than the present-day Russia does. Most analysts believe that Putin would like to re-establish much of that territory. In a 2005 speech, Putin famously stated that “the breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.” His military forays into these territories have been labeled by many as “expansionism.”

Understandably, neighboring countries that used to be part of the Soviet block and nervous about retaining their national soverignty.


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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Trump Bonus Checks & More Scams

Freedom Checks, Biden Senior Benefits, the Foreign Lottery Scam, the 501(k), and More

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith; © 2021

Get rich fast schemes
Get rich fast schemes
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This article was updated on 09/18/21.

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Get rich fast schemes have been around for a long, long time. Why? Because everybody wants something for nothing (Socialism in America is a hot topic right now), or at least by expending the least effort possible. People want to hear what they want to hear. If not, we wouldn’t be such a ripe crop for fake news. If it sounds too good to be true…

The fact is that the digital age has ushered in a whole new generation of shady characters determined to separate us from our money. It is just a lot easier to reach a lot more suckers. As P. T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Let’s take a look at a few email and other scams that are taking up space in our email accounts.

Trump Bonus Checks

I’ve been getting this one for a while now. As with most of these messages, you have to watch a real snoozer of a long, long video while the narrator skirts around the meat of the matter until the very end.

Despite the name, he stops just short of claiming that President Trump actually legislated or recommended this “bonus” although he certainly implies it.

President Donald Trump thumbs up
President Donald Trump thumbs up

Of course, there is an often-repeated call to action (CTA) to create a sense of urgency by telling you that you need to get yourself on the list by May 14. Or what? Some other poor slob will get my money? OK, got it. After all, there is a limit of exactly $15 trillion of cold, hard cash available!

The bottom line? He wants to sell you $502 worth of information for a low, low price of $49. Basically he is going to sell you investment tips. What does that have to do with Trump? Nothing; he’s just riding on the Donald’s coattails.

Now, just for the sake of having some fun, how long do you think it will take for this particular scam to morph into Biden Bonus Checks? Smart money says it will not be overly long.

Biden Senior Benefits Program

Update 09/18/21: I was right as usual. Today I was watching YouTube and lo and behold, here’s an ad for a Biden Senior Benefits program. Well, methinks, if this is a thing, why is it that the only one hawking it is seniorbenefitsworth.com? I’m amazed that I haven’t seen Public Service Announcements (PSAs), commercials, or government propaganda about this. Curious, I went to the site and found:

——-Snip——

Seniors May Qualify For As Much As $97,246 In Benefits

Answer These 7 Questions To See How Much You Could Receive:

More resources and Relief Programs are only available through E-Mail – Sign-Up now to access: (here’s where you fill in all your personal information.)

—— Snip ——

The site goes on to say:

—— Snip ——

Seniors are able to get hundreds of thousands of dollar in benefits that they typically never would work.

In 2021, new policies have been put in place to help those seniors in need.

If you meet 2 of these requirements, you will be eligible for significant benefits.

  • Be an American resident or citizen
  • Live in a qualified zipcode
  • Be a homeowner
  • Have significant debts and/or health issues that need resolution immediately
  • Currently paying too much for electricity and home repairs

—— Snip ——

Where’s the scam tip-off? First off, “More resources and Relief Programs are only available through E-Mail – Sign-Up” Aha, that’s why this is the only place you can find out about the benefits you deserve. This info is so tight-to-the-chest that even the Biden’s government can’t tell you ― only seniorbenefitsworth.com has been entrusted to disseminate this information.

Next, peruse the come-on sentence, “Seniors are able to get hundreds of thousands of dollar (Big-Time typo, where’s the plural?) in benefits that they typically never would work. (what the heck does this phrase even mean, ‘benefits that they typically never would work?’)” This page was clearly posted by the same guy that has been running the Nigerian Prince scam!

I can only say shame on YouTube for selling ad space to this obvious scam artist. Where’s the oversight and vetting?

Freedom Checks

Freedom Checks have been around for at least a few years now, or at least that is when they started showing up in my email. Lately, they have also been running ads on the radio. To finance that they must be finding some gullible takers. The radio spots are mercifully shorter than the video that accompanies the email.

I had to sit through the agony of the entire thing (for the sake of research for this post; see, I took a bullet for you), before the narrator got down to brass tacks about what it is really all about. Bottom line? The same basic Trump Bonus model although the investments seemed to focus more narrowly on the mining industry.

This is another pitch to sell $49 newsletters. The question I had to ask myself is, “If this guy some investment genius, why is he spending time with newsletters? How does he have the time or inclination?”

Phishing Scammers Posing as YouTube

Yes, it was just a matter of time, wasn’t it? This one wants all your sensitive YouTube information. Sometimes they can make it look quite legit. This video explains it:

The 501(k)

Bankonyourself.com explains that the 501(k) plan is “a safe savings and wealth-building strategy based on a specific type of high cash value dividend-paying whole life insurance.” Now while this is true, these scammers are not interested in guiding your financial market investment, they just want your money.

An organization called the Palm Beach Research Group markets it under the guise that it is a tax shelter for the rich. The implication here is that if it is good enough for the likes for the very rich it ought to be good enough for a poor Joe Shmoe like me. After all, this is America, right?

Got a blog or website? Want more revenue? Monetize it!

Although the 501(k) is a legitimate investment vehicle and it can be quite lucrative, the approach taken b y the Palm Beach Group is to print and sell newsletters. These will set you back from $199 for the basic publication to $4,500 for the “Palm Beach Confidential.” Pssst, this is between you and me, OK?

The Foreign Lottery Scam

This foreign lottery scam is one of the most often received email scams. You receive what appears to be an official email from a foreign lottery company. The subject line offers a congratulatory announcement (yea, you), and might include the supposed amount of money you’ve “won.” Tip-offs:

  • The sender is a person, NOT a lottery company.
  • Your name is not listed in the “to” field of the email header.
  • The lottery doesn’t even exist. Do a search.
  • It asks for sensitive personal information.

The bottom line? Most of us would do better to steer clear of these schemes and consult with a professional investment adviser face-to-face or sign up with a broker like Ameritrade. Don’t be a rube. There is no get-rich-quick in life no matter what a bunch of newsletter quacks say. Please take a moment to participate in the poll on the right-hand sidebar of this page. I’m conducting a study and your response is important.



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Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.


About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.