Former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul tells us about Russia, Vladimir Putin, and why they’re one and the same.

Trump Himself Won’t Act Tough on Putin. But His Administration Is Doing That Just Fine.    

Trump Himself Won’t Act Tough on Putin. But His Administration Is Doing That Just Fine.    

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
May 11 2018 9:55 PM

Why Putin Matters

Whoever says history is bigger than any one person hasn’t considered Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.  

Getty-resized-Putin-Trump
President Donald Trump chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in the Vietnamese city of Danang on Nov. 11.

Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to Episode 991 of Slate’s The Gist:

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On The Gist, the mainstream media is too buttoned-up when describing the Trump administration’s shenanigans.

There is no Russian Federation as we know it without Vladimir Putin. Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul explains how parts of Russian society are eager for new leadership despite that. As for its relations with the U.S., McFaul sees continuity in how the Obama and Trump administrations (though perhaps not Trump himself) put pressure on Russia. McFaul’s new book is From Cold War to Hot Peace.

In the Spiel, email newsletters are where you’ll find the best and worst headlines. Plus, it’s time to award a Lobstar of the antentwig!

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Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.