We think Putin is strong, but he is an old, frightened KGB man – psychiatrist
With Roman Kechur, president of the Ukrainian Confederation of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, we talk about what can deter Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and whether to fear «a madman with a nuclear bomb.»
Roman Kechur: On the surface, we have an antisocial psychopath who tries to control everything around him. His main psychological defense is called «total control.» And he does it through conscious manipulation. He manipulates to keep everyone in fear and control their actions. This is the first level.
But he regresses, he falls into a paranoid state. This can even be seen on TV. He sits at a long table, afraid that he will be poisoned, lives in a bunker, his food is prepared by special chefs. Putin shows obvious signs of paranoia.
What is Putin scared of?
Roman Kechur: A person who is scared of everyone experiences a very strong fear. He is afraid of losing control. He is afraid that he will be dominated, that he will be irradiated or poisoned. He lives in fear.
But I want to emphasize that I am not talking in terms of medical diagnoses. Putin is not my patient. I analyze the dictator who attacked my country.
And I support restraining him. Just how? Such a person, as we have just described, can only be restrained by independent forces. He cannot be restrained by an empathic attempt to understand his experiences, images, interests. It’s all unnecessary. It’s all used by such people to manipulate others.
He manipulated Western leaders who, as Russians say, are «happy to be deceived.» Western leaders wanted to be deceived, and Putin deceived them.
Therefore, he must be restrained by an independent force. He cannot be given control over the escalation. If he escalates the situation on his own, he will calm down, find himself on a horse, then he is Putin, «who outplayed everyone.» He needs to take control of the escalation. You need to raise the degree yourself. Act in such a way that any development is possible. If the enemy cannot predict the outcome, then fear settles in his soul. He needs to get his fear back.
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Does the resistance from the Armed Forces and Ukrainian citizens influence Putin?
Roman Kechur: We are restraining him properly. We attack and harm him as much as possible. And the longer and more efficiently we do so, the better. I would not ask whether this is restraining him. The question is whether this restrains the Russian elite.
If we do this effectively, Russia’s economy will fall effectively, and its armed forces will suffer huge losses. Then, if Putin himself does not back down himself, then «he will be backed down.» His courtiers are the bearers of the tradition of the country, in which the king was removed more than once.
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Is Putin influenced by the challenge of direct talks with the President of Ukraine?
Roman Kechur: President Zelenskyy is doing everything right. But his words are more of an appeal to the Western world, which shows Zelenskyy’s willingness to talk to Putin, as is customary in the Western tradition.
But Vladimir Putin is not affected in any way. Vladimir Putin is only affected by the pain that he might feel. The more pain he feels, the more effective our negotiations will be. Of course, he is not capable of empathic pain. But if all this falls into chaos — the economy falls, troops lose and surrender, and there will be heavy losses — Putin will feel it.
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Should we be afraid of the «madman with a nuclear bomb»?
Roman Kechur: Fear is a typical thing. But in life, we must only fear what is under our control. Will he blow everyone up? I very much doubt that his surroundings will allow him to blow us all up. Because it will be an extended suicide.
If he blows us up, he and his entourage will perish very quickly. To do this, he must go crazy. I think Putin’s entourage is watching him — and as soon as he goes crazy, he will be set aside.
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In other words, I am not afraid that he will start a nuclear war.
Putin is not a fanatic, but an ordinary bandit coward.
He himself is full of fear. He is not the bearer of fanatical ideas. In order to press the nuclear button, you need to be convinced of something. He is convinced only that he needs to live as long as possible and hold power for as long as possible. And it’s not very congruent to fanatical ideology.
I think we are idealizing it. We imagine that he is strong, but he is a frightened, old and retired KGB member. We need to look at it realistically. He is not very healthy physically. He has very big problems.
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Listen to the entire program in the audio file