As more information becomes available the past behavior of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is more understandable. His shirtless masculinity, his tiny step skating during hockey matches where he tiptoed up to the net and shot. The goalie, of course, missed the puck the Czar would score seven or eight goals a game. His chopping wood and general all-round physical prowess were displayed for all to see. He was a judo champion and honorary president of the international judo association. A man’s man and much more of a man than the wimpy presidents of Western countries or for that matter even his neighboring dictators. For example when he and Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko played together in a hockey match Putin scored seven goals and Lukashenko was only allowed two.

Putin’s recent dressing down of his foreign intelligence chief in public was uncharacteristic and demonstrated an irritability not previously available to the world at large although some state media types may have encountered it before but, of course, would not have made it part of any news release.

That Putin has ordered assassinations is without doubt. Groups that track the “Wet Work” of Russian operatives lay more than 140 assassinations at Putin’s door over the last decade and a half. In March 2020 the Atlantic Council called for action against Russia for its continued use of assassination of both internal and external political rivals. Other organizations have made similar requests but the politics of business always seemed to push the issue to the side. Oil, gas and pipelines are much more important than some political rival of Putin suffering an explosion, poisoning or disappearance.

These are the actions, not of a shrewd straight up politician but rather an insecure megalomanic obsessed with the getting and keeping of power. We have seen this before with Lukashenko playing Mussolini to Putin’s Hitler. What we have not seen before is a megalomaniac with control of nuclear weapons.

There is only one way to remove a megalomaniac and that is for his own people to do it. Surely there must be someone in Putin’s inner circle who possesses a smattering of common sense and human decency. If so, it’s time to step up and do the necessary. Otherwise the Russian economy will tank and Russia will look like Germany in 1919. Forced into a corner Putin may want to take the world with him and he may just order a nuclear weapons strike. Hopefully, it will not come to that and the Russians will remove him for, at the moment, they’re the only ones who can.

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