My Pal Vlad: Leadership on a Slippery Slope
This is a story about two leaders. And as we’ll see shortly, leadership is not always as clear cut as we’d like to believe. It can, indeed, reside on a slippery slope.
He was born to Maria Shelomova in Leningrad on October, 7, 1952. His birth came a mere eight years after the siege of Leningrad. The boy and his parents lived in the squalid, cramped quarters of public housing (two brothers died early on in the mid-1930s). His father, who was in his early forties at the time, worked in a train factory, while his mother worked a variety of physical menial jobs.
As a young boy, he shared space outside with thugs and misfits, learning to use his fists at an early age. Because he was picked on, and as a human response to survival of the fittest, he learned how to fight. The smallest insult, perceived as humiliation by him, prompted an instant beating. He later became active in judo, an activity he became proficient at as an adult.
Vladimir Putin learned long ago never to take any prisoners in a figurative sense, and in a literal one he has, according to several informed security experts, been linked to the assassinations of those who have opposed him. His ascent through the ranks of the much feared KGB was largely unnoticed by the CIA and other foreign intelligence groups. Putin’s rise was largely aided by President Boris Yeltsin in the nineties, such as when he was appointed deputy chief of presidential staff in 1997.
In a telling recounting of an event that occurred when he was a young man, Putin came face-to-face with a rat that he had corned in an alley. The rat sprang at him, teaching Putin a lesson that he has carried for life: when cornered fight back, to the death if need be.
Putin has been called a narcissistic autocrat. That shoe fits fairly well. However, Put