An ex-employee of Vladimir Putin says he couldn't understand why the once "rational" dictator started "destroying the country he is ruling."
Abbas Gallyamov was part of the Russian dictator's speechwriting team for three years and attended dozens of public and private meetings with him. Now living in Israel and working as a political consultant, Gallyamov said he has struggled to come to terms with Putin's behaviour after the despot launched his war in Ukraine.
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"[Putin] seemed to be absolutely rational – perfectly logical and always in search of reasonable decisions," he wrote for Newsweek. "Had somebody told me in those days that the time would come when Putin would be literally destroying the country he is ruling – and that's exactly what is happening now – I would have never believed it."
Gallyamov recalled a time when a "warm and friendly" Putin would listen to his ministers and even invite feedback from regional leaders in a bid to better Russia. But the writer said after the Ukraine conflict, beginning in February 2022, everything changed.
"I spent a lot of time trying to understand how it could be that someone so normal could turn into someone so abnormal," Gallyamov continued. "Now I think that it was not so much a matter of dynamics but rather of Putin's duplicity."
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Putin's ongoing invasion in Ukraine has been falling flat in recent months. Former ally and Wagner group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as "Putin's chef," was killed in a mysterious plane crash in August, two months after he attempted to lead a coup to Moscow – leaving one of Russia's most powerful mercenary groups displeased.
Rumours about the dictator's ailing health have also run rife. The Daily Star previously reported the despot, 70, was suffering bloating, falls and unusual twitches, hinting he may be suffering from cancer or Parkinson's disease.
But this hasn't stopped his ongoing invasion and the dictator even held secretive talks with Kim Jong-un earlier this month, possibly to strike a new weapons deal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has even compared the warmonger to a second Adolf Hitler.
Speaking to CBS news, Zelenskyy said: "Russian society has lost respect for the world. It elected and re-elected him and raised a second Hitler – it did it. We cannot go back to the past. But we can stop it here."
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