For many years in the West there has been a lack of understanding of Vladimir Putin and his policies. His personality, motivations, and objectives have been clouded in obscurity by the Western press, which almost always reverts to its simplistic “black and white” view of the world. Not all of the fault for this lies with the West, of course. The Russian president’s own media apparatus has little interest in encouraging critical analysis or speculation that falls outside the range of permissible opinion. But leadership is as much about perception as anything else, and every leader in the modern age must take care to cultivate his image. In this regard, Russia is no different from the United States, France, or England. In the media age, it cannot be otherwise.