The Puppet Master
Although people demand a lot from politicians, they know very little about what is going on behind the curtains of “real politics.” It may be the case with Mr. Putin, the infamous Russian president, whose ominous figure is behind all of the big (and mostly aggressive) events that take place in the countries which used to be in the Soviet Union. Mr. Putin, who has quite an experience in the political sphere (he has been a President for two terms and is currently serving his third term for which he has changed the Constitution), is well known as the main puppet master who triggers the political life in many countries such as Kazakhstan, Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine. He is respected (read – feared) by the West and his citizens. The West is so afraid of Mr. Putin that it would rather not have to do anything with him at all. Unfortunately for the West, and especially for the European countries, Putin’s Russia has gas, and the European countries need to cooperate with Russia to have that gas for their citizens. Mr. Putin is also well known as a man not opposed to using the force against peaceful demonstrators and aggression against those, who contradict him. Interestingly, despite such a reputation, he also tries to “save” his “human face” for the West and poses himself as a caring, but an intelligent leader. Love him or hate him, one cannot deny the fact that Putin is a charismatic leader, who rules a huge country, but instead of being democratic and liberal, he has used his influence to become a true puppet master who manipulates people through the dictatorship and unfair political methods which has been widely noted by the Western media.
Putin is not a man to mess with. Current events in Ukraine prove this idea as an absolute fact. Ukraine, which is Russia’s closest neighbor as well as an important economic partner, was about to sign the Association Agreement with the EU when Mr. Putin showed up. His influence (at least that is what Ukraine’s president, Victor Yanukovych, says) has pressured the Ukrainian politicians to halt the deal with the EU. Putin, who was always very interested in the political situation in Ukraine, did not hide his joy over the sudden change of plans within Ukraine. He is well known as a person who influences political actions in Ukraine greatly since the country is very dependent on the Russian gas and other resources it has to export from its neighbor. Putin, who stated that Ukraine was a part of Russia early in his career, found Yanukovych’s decision something inevitable. After all, in Putin’s belief, everything that is happening outside has to be done in such a way as to please the Russian president. Otherwise, he may use force.
Still, one has to admit that Putin tries to change his image, especially in the West; although the Westerners, namely the Americans, often view him as an enemy. Putin, knowing it well, wrote to The New York Times recently where he tried to look like a father to the entire American nation if not the whole world. He tried to explain why Russia was acting the way it did in the Syrian conflict, and why America was wrong in that case. Putin was clever enough to criticize the American government in a very sophisticated manner making it look like a bunch of people who have no idea what they were doing and had to orient on a wise Russian leader. Nevertheless, it would be harder than that to make the Westerners change their minds toward Putin. They view him mostly as a manipulator, which can be seen in many articles in newspapers and magazines in America. Some journalists called Mr. Putin a manipulator, who wants to change America according to his standards. It means turning the United States into a country similar to Russia, where democratic rights are implemented only on paper. Putin realizes that the world lives very well without the USSR, but he would gladly relive that empire. One can say that Putin’s greatest desire is to create a new sort of the USSR, but this time it would be formally democratic. To do that, Putin has already created the Customs Union and the Free Economic Space, where he has included Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. At the present moment, Putin truly wants Ukraine to join. This way, Ukraine will not be able to free itself from Russian influence. Hence, Putin would be able to manipulate Ukraine freely without worrying that the Ukrainian government and citizens would oppose his decisions. At the present moment, there are strikes against the pro-Russian government, which is ruling in Ukraine. The Ukrainians, who are disappointed with the government’s decision to halt the agreement with the EU, also blame Putin. They view him as the main puppet master that has led to such a decision. Putin wants to keep the countries under his influence, and he fears that their cooperation with the EU will distance these countries from him. An example can be seen with Georgia, too. There, Russia under Putin used political aggression to change the political situation in Georgia. The Georgian president at that time wanted the country to move toward Europe and absolute independence from Russia. His decision was met with the Russian invasion of the Georgian territory. Hence, Putin’s Russia showed its true intentions.
One can say that although Putin misses good old times when he was a KGB officer in the Soviet Union, he can no longer restore the empire of communism. His political direction can be seen in the way he treats his enemies, which was noted by another American journalist. Putin is a president, whose influence reaches much farther than the constitution allows. Even the fact that he was chosen as the President for the third time (and for that, he has changed the constitution) shows that his personality combined with his power and aggression can threaten the world. At the present moment, America does not view Mr. Putin as a partner, but it does not want to mess with a man who may use force to prove himself right.
One cannot deny the fact that Putin matters. For better or worse, he is the man who leads Russia, a country that has a huge amount of resources and a long and complicated history of difficult relations with the United States. To people, who can see behind the curtains, he is a puppet master. His decisions influence choices other politicians make, and even if people do not know about it, Putin is present in most of the big decisions made by other governments pressured by him. The question about Putin remains unresolved: will he remain to manipulate others, or will people end his political regime? Will the Russian opposition be strong enough, or does Putin need foreign pressure to change his political doctrine? As long as this question remains unresolved, it is difficult to speak about the future of Russia. So far, it has to deal with its leader; and he, although being charismatic, is very far away from being a democratic hero.
The previous work has been changed greatly to fit into a new genre and be appealing to a new audience. One has chosen such a genre as a newspaper article. This genre was chosen for several reasons. First of all, the topic of the paper is connected to a political figure who has a considerable influence on every major event in the world. Hence, it is something that interests the media. Second of all, the previous paper was focused on describing Mr. Putin’s portrayal in the media, and that was the link, which influenced the decision of the genre. Third of all, many newspapers and media, such as The New York Times and BBC, often write some sort of political profiles on many famous politicians. They do not do it like Wikipedia providing bare facts. On the contrary, their profiles are rich with comparisons and vivid language to create a bright picture of the person they are describing. Such political profiles are very popular in the common press, and that was also the reason, which determined the choice of a genre. Another reason which affected the genre choice was the timeliness of the topic. At the present moment, there are many international events taking place, which are directly or indirectly connected to Putin. Hence, it is only logical to connect his figure to these events and explain why Putin and his analysis matter. The main argument for choosing this genre is the fact that the overall topic fits perfectly into a newspaper article such as a political profile. It could also be editorial. Nevertheless, the editorial article would be more suitable for a current event that is taking place at the present moment and which has to be explained to the public since very little is known about it. A political profile as a genre in the newspaper fits this topic better because it allows for creating a big article, which would explain this person in detail, as well as his portrayal in the media, significance for the world, and the influence Putin has on current events. It is something very likely to be published, especially now when big things are happening in Eastern Europe. This political profile would be even more suitable when something critical would be happening in Russia. For example, if there was a riot or a revolution within the country, it would be very smart to write such a profile on Putin explaining his true influence and meaning for the Russian political life. Although many Americans know about Vladimir Putin, their knowledge is often very shallow. Hence, such a political profile would be considerably relevant for them because it will provide them with important information, which would simplify their understanding of the processes which would be taking place in Russia. This genre is also very suitable, because it allows using the same thesis, which has been used in the previous paper. Hence, this genre allows keeping all of the arguments the way they have been used, but it also requires making some changes to fit the audience’s expectations.
One can say that this article fits the expectations for the genre. It sounds similar to an example, which can be found on the pages of The New York Times or other media. One can say that this genre could be easily used in any newspaper which writes about political life and foreign politicians. It is an analytical article that includes a political profile, a clear background of the person, and many explanations, which readers want to find. As was mentioned before, kairos is taken into consideration because it is very timely.
When it comes to analyzing the audience, one can say that the audience for this article includes a wide variety of people, but most of them are Americans, who are middle-aged, with higher education, interested in politics, and read newspapers regularly. These people care about what is going on in the world, and they read newspapers in order to know more. Nevertheless, because they are so busy working that they have little time to do extra research except reading newspapers. That is why they need journalists to provide them with extra information such as background about different politicians and events. The genre fits into the context of the argument because it justifies many comparisons, descriptions, irony, and other things, which make the article interesting to read.
As it was mentioned before, the audience which would be interested in the article, includes the middle-aged people with the higher education who have middle or high income. They may differ racially, but the biggest amount would probably consist of well-educated whites, who care about Europe and America. One can make some personal assumptions about this audience and its need to know more about Putin. It is important to explain to this audience why Putin matters personally to them and the United States. To do that, one has used such words: “At the present moment, America definitely does not view Mr. Putin as a partner, but it does not want to mess with a man who may use force in order to prove himself right.” It shows the difficulties while analyzing this person and his relations with the United States. To show why this analysis matters to the audience, one also used such words: “Some journalists called Mr. Putin a manipulator, who wants to change America according to his own standards. It means turning the United States into the country similar to Russia, where democratic rights are implemented only on paper.” It appeals to the audience because they see that Mr. Putin is not just some political leader from a country far away, but a man who would gladly use and change the United States to meet his selfish goals. One can assume with confidence that the audience for such an article includes people, who deeply care for their country. Hence, they would like to know more about a person, who often antagonizes the relations between the United States and Russia. The audience has many expectations for the article. It wants to know how Putin can further influence America. They also want to know how his figure became so important. Even more, the audience wants the article to be interesting and easy to read and memorize in order for it to be an effective work. Thus, the political profile is very good genre in this case, because it fits the audience’s expectations perfectly. One could also use the editorial or article in the magazine. The essay about Putin would also fit.
In order to be more appealing, one used language that was not as difficult as in the previous paper. Hence, one simplified the main argument and made it sound like this: “Love him or hate him, one cannot deny the fact that Putin is a charismatic leader, who rules a huge country, but instead of being democratic and liberal, he has used his influence to become a true puppet master, who manipulates people through dictatorship and unfair political methods, which was widely noted by the Western media.” This way, it sounds more appealing with the phrase “Love him or hate him.” It looks like a rhetoric appeal to every single reader. It also connects the article with the previous paper and its arguments about different examples of Putin’s portrayal in the media. Nevertheless, some arguments were left out. For example, although the new article focuses on Putin and his image, it does not provide the readers with the exact names and authors of articles about Putin. It is done on purpose. Since it is a newspaper article that wants to provide the readers with a political profile, it does not need to get into as much detail as the previous paper. Hence, it is not necessary to use articles in other newspapers to support one’s evidence. Nevertheless, in order to support one’s evidence and be appealing to the readers, one has used the persuasion. It can be seen with such lines: “One cannot deny the fact that Putin matters. For better or worse, he is the man who leads Russia, the country which has a huge amount of resources and a long and complicated history of difficult relations with the United States.” Rhetoric questions at the end such as “Will the Russian opposition are strong enough, or does Putin need foreign pressure to change his political doctrine?” also appeal to the audience. Hence, one can say that although the argument has been modified, its overall claim remained, and the new genre has helped to reach the audience and be persuasive enough to interest people.
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