Michael Clarke says Vladimir Putin 'known to hit Botox regularly'
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Putin’s war in Ukraine is increasingly focusing on the country’s eastern Donbas region, which was once an industrial powerhouse. After initially surrounding the Ukrainian capital Kyiv following Russia’s invasion in February, Putin refocused his troops’ efforts on Luhansk and Donetsk, which make up Donbas. Seizing full control of the largely Russian-speaking areas, which were recognised as independent by Putin before the war, would mark an ideological, as well as territorial win for the Kremlin strongman.
Putin has made land grabs before, with Russia having annexed Crimea in 2014 following an internationally rejected referendum.
Such moves are part of his global master plan in which he views the world as a “geopolitical casino” to cash in on, according to Garry Kasparov, who has been on the receiving end of political brutality in Putin’s Russia on a string of occasions.
The chess grandmaster was arrested in 2007 at a political rally; had his presidential campaign against Putin mysteriously derailed the following year; and in 2012 was arrested and beaten outside of a court in Moscow.
Speaking about Putin, the political activist said: “He looks at the world map looking for bargaining chips, because for him, it is all a geopolitical casino.”
His remarks were unearthed from the BBC’s 2018 documentary, ‘Putin: The New Tsar’, which looked at how he tried to rebuild with Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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Kasparov was among the experts and insiders in the film, who laid bare how Putin’s worldview has developed since his days in the KGB.
The chess champion said: “Putin’s goals are strategic goals. He wants chaos, because that is like him breathing air.
“He needs chaos because that is how he installed his authorities inside and outside of Russia.
“He doesn’t want to compete. He cannot compete with the free world.
“But the moment it comes into wars and conflicts, he is dominant because he is very quick at making decisions.
“He doesn’t bother about Parliament, free press, or public opinion. So, he immediately grabs the opportunity if it is presented.”
Since Putin became President, a string of world leaders have struggled to understand his enigmatic decision-making.
One person who has given many of them an insight into the Kremlin strongman’s mind is Professor Ian Robertson, the founding director of Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience.
In the BBC film, the expert claims Putin is self-obsessed and compares his approach to other famous leaders from history.
He said: “Almost all people who hold great power for a long time begin to feel so special.
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“‘I am so amazing. God must have something to do with this.
“‘Look, I can snap my fingers and they invade a country. I have the power of life and death over man and woman’.
“George W Bush confessed he thought that God was involved in his decision on the Iraq War.
“Tony Blair hinted that he had a wee chat with God now and again. Julius Caesar had himself deified while he was still alive.”
Former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who has met Putin in the UK, also weighed in on the Russian leader’s tactics, such as him interfering in the elections of foreign nations.
He claimed this has been used by Putin to “diminish confidence in the democratic process over time, and to weaken the unity of the West”.
‘Putin: The New Tsar’ is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
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