THE BLOG
11/22/2016 05:50 pm ET Updated Nov 18, 2017

TRUMPUTIN: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE

Do you want to solve the mystery of who Donald Trump really is?

Well here is the answer.

All you have to do is substitute the name Putin for Trump.

Vodka is usually chilled. Now you will be.

Welcome to the U.S.S.R.U.S.A.

Critics state that Putin has moved Russia in an autocratic direction. Putin has been described as a "dictator" by political opponent Garry Kasparov, as a "bully" and "arrogant" by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and as "self-centered" and "isolationist" by the Dalai Lama.

Many Russians credit Putin for reviving Russia's fortunes.[328] Former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, while acknowledging the flawed democratic procedures and restrictions on media freedom during the Putin presidency, said that Putin had pulled Russia out of chaos at the end of the Yeltsin years, and that Russians "must remember that Putin saved Russia from the beginning of a collapse." In 2015, opposition politician, Boris Nemtsov, said that Putin was turning Russia into a "raw materials colony" of China.[330] Chechen Republic head and Putin supporter, Ramzan Kadyrov, states that Putin saved both the Chechen people and Russia.

Putin cultivates an outdoor, sporty, tough guy public image, demonstrating his physical prowess and taking part in unusual or dangerous acts, such as extreme sports and interaction with wild animals,[335] part of a public relations approach that, according to Wired, "deliberately cultivates the macho, take-charge superhero image. For example, in 2007, the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda published a huge photograph of a bare-chested Putin vacationing in the Siberian mountains under the headline: "Be Like Putin." Some of the activities have been criticized for being staged. Outside of Russia, Putin's macho image has been the subject of parody.

Putin's name and image are widely used in advertisement and product branding.[336] Among the Putin-branded products are Putinka vodka, the PuTin brand of canned food, the Gorbusha Putina caviar and a collection of T-shirts with his image.

Putin is known for his often tough and sharp language, often alluding at Russian jokes and folk sayings. Putin sometimes uses Russian criminal language (fenya), not always correctly.]

On 28 July 1983, Putin married Lyudmila Shkrebneva, and they lived together in Germany from 1985 to 1990. They have two daughters, Mariya Putina, born 28 April 1985 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Yekaterina Putina, born 31 August 1986 inDresden, East Germany.

On 6 June 2013, Putin announced that their marriage was over, and on 1 April 2014, the Kremlin confirmed that the divorce had been finalized.

Figures released during the legislative election of 2007 put Putin's wealth at approximately 3.7 million rubles (US$150,000) in bank accounts, a private 77.4-square-meter (833 sq ft) apartment in Saint Petersburg, and miscellaneous other assets. Putin's reported 2006 income totalled 2 million rubles (approximately $80,000). In 2012, Putin reported an income of 3.6 million rubles ($113,000).

According to Russian opposition politicians and journalists, Putin secretly possesses a multi-billion fortune[371] via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Russian companies.
In April 2016, 11 million documents belonging to a Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The name of Vladimir Putin does not appear in any of the records, and Putin denied his involvement with the company.

 However, various media has reported on three of Putin's associates on the list. According to the Panama Papers leak, close trustees of Putin own offshore companies worth two billion US-Dollar in total. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung regards the possibility of Putin's family profiting from this money as plausible.

According to the paper, the US$2 billion had been "secretly shuffled through banks and shadow companies linked to Putin's associates", and Bank Rossiya, previously identified by the U.S. State Department as being treated by Putin as his personal bank account, had been central in facilitating this. It concludes that "Putin has shown he is willing to take aggressive steps to maintain secrecy and protect [such] communal assets." and his press-secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said the leak was a conspiracy aimed at Putin.

Not long after Putin returned from his KGB service in Dresden, East Germany, Putin built a dacha in Solovyovka on the eastern shore of Lake Komsomolskoye on theKarelian Isthmus in Priozersky District of Leningrad Oblast, near St. Petersburg. The dacha had burned down in 1996. Putin built a new one identical to the original and was joined by a group of seven friends who built dachas beside his. In the fall of 1996, the group formally registered their fraternity as a co-operative society, calling itOzero ("Lake") and turning it into a gated community.

As President and then Prime-Minister, apart from the Moscow Kremlin and the White House, Putin has used numerous official residences throughout the country. In August 2012 Nemtsov listed 20 villas and palaces, nine of which were built during Putin's 12 years in power. Some of the residences include: Gorki-9 near Moscow,Bocharov Ruchey in Sochi, Dolgiye Borody in Novgorod Oblast, Novo-Ogaryovo in Moscow Oblast and Riviera in Sochin. Furthermore, a massive Italianate-style mansion costing an alleged US$1 billion and dubbed "Putin's Palace" is under construction near the Black Sea village of Praskoveevka. The mansion, built on government land and sporting 3 helipads, a private road paid for from state funds and guarded by officials wearing uniforms of the official Kremlin guard service, is said to have been built for Putin's private use.

In 2012 Sergei Kolesnikov, a former business associate of Putin's, told the BBC's Newsnight programme, that he had been ordered by deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin, to oversee the building of it.