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Reckless, autocratic and surrounded by ‘yes men’: Putin has a lot in common with Gaddafi

After decades of people being too terrified to stand up to Putin or too compromised and invested to criticise his moves, he appears in many ways divorced from reality, writes Bel Trew

Monday 14 March 2022 14:32 GMT
Ukraine is bearing the brunt of Putin’s fantasies
Ukraine is bearing the brunt of Putin’s fantasies (AP)

Speaking in the third person, addressing an (apparently) adoring crowd, the then-Libyan leader declared: “Muammar Gaddafi is not a president to resign, he does not even have a parliament to dissolve.”

With that characteristic downward look with an upturned chin, he was emphatic that there was “no position from which to step down." His audience obligingly cheered with approval. This was around two weeks into the 2011 revolution-turned-war that would ultimately bring about his demise.

At the time I remember thinking he must be spouting propaganda to keep his supporters – lovers of his somewhat mad Green Book –  on side. Later, I learned that he genuinely believed this and that he was most likely delusional.

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