Man Who Used To Be The 'Kremlin's Banker' Says Putin Is Completely Winging It

Vladimir PutinReuters / Ivan SekretarevPugachev described Putin, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the KGB, as a ‘black box.’

Putin left his mark in the international community over the past few months, but his motives remain unclear.

There’s ongoing debate over whether his moves are part of a larger master plan, or if he’s just acting impulsively day-by-day.

One former aid formerly known as ‘Kremlin’s Banker’ firmly believes that the world’s “most powerful” person is just winging it.

“Putin is not someone who sets strategic plans; he lives today,” Sergei Pugachev said in an interview with TIME.

Pugachev was a big player in Moscow until recent years. He founded Mozhprombank (International Industrial Bank) in Moscow back in 1992, and within four years was a “Kremlin powerbroker,” helping politicians win elections. Things went sour in 2010, and then the Kremlin started aggressively buying up his business. Pugachev fled to London in 2011.

While Pugachev was a Kremlin favourite, he spent plenty of time with Putin. In fact, he “spoke to him almost every day probably” when Putin was St. Petersburg’s mayor and Pugachev served as an advisor.

The former aide believes that Putin didn’t have any master plan for his career either. He just sort of ended up as president because “there weren’t any other options” and his former boss a was democratic ex-mayor of St. Petersburg, according to the report by Oliver Bullough.

“He had no plans, he didn’t aim to become President. He hadn’t thought of that. He didn’t plan to remain in the government at all,” he added.

Pugachev suggests that the Russian leader might not be making economic decisions strategically.

“Vladimir Putin does not understand economics. He does not like it. It is dry. It’s boring to hear these reports, to read them,” Pugachev says. “He likes clear things: Russia’s moving ahead; how great everything is. He does not have a deep understanding of what is happening.”

Right now, Russia is facing serious economic problems. Not to mention, the Rouble keeps plunging. Pugachev says that Putin doesn’t care.

“Putin’s close circle understands that he likes good news, so they always bring him good news. Whatever is happening, it’s good. For him, it’s enough to be in a good mood,” Pugachev told TIME.

Check out the fascinating interview at TIME >

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