The Corner

National Security & Defense

The Putinologist

A year or two ago, I was talking with a colleague of mine about Europe — he is very, very knowledgeable on the subject. He said that if I wanted to find out about Russian influence in Europe — and worldwide, for that matter — I had to consult Mark Galeotti.

I never forgot it. And now I’ve done it. I’ve recorded a podcast — a Q&A — with Galeotti, here.

He is a historian and political scientist (British). He has taught and otherwise worked in many places. He is now in Prague, at the Institute of International Relations. He is a leading expert on transnational crime, or global crime — so much of which stems from Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.

Galeotti talks with me about Putin. (The man has a “gut nationalism” that has been part of the Russian makeup for centuries. He also has a “Soviet nationalism,” as a KGB officer would.) Galeotti discusses the extent of the Kremlin’s mischief-making abroad.

It is important not to make too much of it — to attribute too much to it. It is also important not to make too little of it — to attribute too little to it. One wants to be wise, not paranoid or naïve.

Galeotti and I talk about Hungary, Germany, the United States, the Jihad, the social media — many things. Many things that are in our faces right now.

It’s nice to be in the hands of an authority — a man with all the relevant facts and a sober analytical mind. Such a man is Mark Galeotti, whom I commend to you. (Again, our podcast is here, and Galeotti blogs here.)

At the beginning of the podcast, I asked how he came to be interested in, and authoritative on, global crime. He started with a quip: His name, in Italian, means “convicts.” (Think of the English word — the British word — “gaol.”)

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