Day: March 2, 2022

Background Briefing: March 2, 2022


Is Putin, Like Many Tyrants in History, Mentally Ill?

We begin with the glaring possibility that Vladimir Putin is mentally ill and given that the previous U.S. president is also manifestly mentally ill and other tyrants in history like Hitler were also, we are facing a situation that clearly requires an intervention. Joining us to discuss the possibility that top officials in Russia’s military and intelligence services along with the oligarchs who are getting sanctioned, could remove Putin from office before he unleashes any of the 5,000 nuclear weapons he has at his fingertip is Marci Shore, a professor of history at Yale University who teaches the intellectual history of twentieth and twenty-first century Central and Eastern Europe. She is the author of The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe, and The Ukrainian Night: An Intimate History of Revolution. Her forthcoming book is Eyeglasses Floating in Space: Central European Encounters That Came about While Searching for Truth and we discuss the need to understand that what is happening in Ukraine as we witness the attempted murder of a country and its people is because of one person and he must be stopped.


Dissent Among Russia’s Top Intel and Military Officials Who Likely Leaked War Plans

Then we look further into dissent within Russia’s elites and speak with Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harper’s in legal affairs and national security who serves on the American branch of the International Law Association, and has represented a variety of journalists and whistleblowers. He joins us to discuss the foiled assassination plot against President Zelensky carried out by Chechen hit teams who have been the favorite instrument of Putin’s for political assassinations and the extraordinary revelation that the Ukrainians were tipped off about the hit teams by Russia’s intelligence service the FSB.


The GOP is Torn Between Putin Haters and Putin Lovers Like Trump

Then finally, with the GOP and their right wing media echo chamber torn between those who hate Putin and those like their leader Trump who love Putin, we will speak with James Risen, the Senior National Security Correspondent at The Intercept and a former investigative journalist with the New York Times, and author of the New York Times bestsellers State of War and Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his stories about warrantless wiretapping by the NSA and in 2007 was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Currently the director of the Press Freedom Defense Fund, which has provided financial assistance for Maria Ressa’s legal defense in the Philippines, he joins us to discuss his latest article at The Intercept, “Will the GOP’s Trumpist Wing Persist in Its Embrace of Putin?