Tony Wood Interviewed on Jacobin's The Dig
It is impossible to think of Russia today without thinking of Vladimir Putin: more than any other major national leader, he personifies his country in the eyes of the world, and dominates Western media coverage. In Russia itself, he is likewise the centre of attention both for his supporters and his detractors.
On The Dig's most recent episode, host Dan Denvir talks to Tony Wood, author of Russia Without Putin, about the problem of Western obsession with Putin, as well as the current strained state of US-Russia relations. The two explore how to understand Russia today both as a product of and a separate entity from Putin, acknowledging his outsized influence while also seeing Russia beyond him.
Denvir and Wood discuss Putin's rise to power, the transformation of Russia in the 1990s, and the ways in which the West's consuming fixation with Putin actually strengthens his influence and support domestically, creating a loop between both Russian and Western perception of this larger than life figure. Wood argues that this loop gets in the way of any real understanding of the country. The West needs to discard its single-minded focus on Putin and look beyond the Kremlin walls.