Vladimir Putin is arguably the most charmless major world leader. He is also the only one I can think of who would conceivably murder another human being with his bare hands (I would not, in fact, be surprised to learn that he has actually done this). I bet his kids are terrified of him. I bet dogs don’t even like him.
Has anyone seen this guy crack a smile? Ever? Can you imagine him cracking a joke? How can a human being have absolutely no sense of humor? Kim Jung Il was a laff riot compared to this guy. That sleazy right-wing gangster in Italy is more human. What do you think Putin does to relax on the weekend? Iron his pants? Strangle prostitutes?
My old roommate found him fascinating (sometimes, late at night, we would play a lively round of “Would You Sleep With This World Leader?” He didn’t get why I would never be with Putin, but I was definitely more attracted to Nicolas Sarkozy. For his part, my roommate said that he would do Angela Merkel.). Putin is also tremendously popular in Russia, for unlovely but characteristically Russian reasons: he brings home the bacon, and he is despised by the West. Russia really enjoys flipping everyone else the bird. They just don’t give a shit. Though, after we wrecked their economy with a bunch of Harvard-trained asshole Economists in the 1990s, can anyone blame them for holding a grudge? Really? I’m surprised the Kremlin didn’t find a way to flatten Harvard, just on basic principle.