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Reviews |  Meet Vladimir Medinsky, Putin’s ghostwriter


But who is he?

Mr. Medinsky was born in the Cherkasy region of Ukraine in 1970. But he is not Ukrainian at all. His father was a soldier and his childhood was spent traveling across the Soviet Union, from garrison to garrison. In this itinerant environment, according to close acquaintances, Mr. Medinsky was raised with very conservative values ​​and as a sincere patriot of the Soviet Union. Education was also important – his mother was a schoolteacher – and, in time, led him to the Institute of International Relations in Moscow. A model student, he excelled at the School of Journalism and was a member of the Komsomol, the youth organization of the Communist Party.

But by the time he graduated, the Soviet Union had collapsed. Mr. Medinsky had no difficulty adapting. In 1992, with a group of classmates, he started his own advertising company, Ya Corporation. Its clients were mostly financial and tobacco companies. He quickly became a public relations man for the tobacco lobby — much like the unscrupulous main character in Christopher Buckley’s 1994 book, “Thank You for Smoking.” However, he did not neglect his studies and continued his studies with a view to obtaining a doctorate.

That’s when I met Mr. Medinsky, when I was a student at the institute in the late 90s. He was 10 years older than me, distant and had just start teaching public relations. It was a new and very fashionable discipline, and many of my classmates, who wanted to become “PR people”, dreamed of learning from him. A true star on campus, Mr. Medinsky was considered a successful businessman and readily supported students, taking the best among them for internships in his company.

In 2000, Mr. Putin became president of Russia, succeeding Boris Yeltsin. As any public relations man should, Mr. Medinsky adapted to the changing atmosphere, turning a government job into a political career. In 2004, he was an MP for Mr Putin’s United Russia party. Despite accusations that as an elected official he continued to lobby for tobacco companies and casinos, Mr. Medinsky was a man on the rise.

It helped that he began trading in patriotism. In 2007, this former tobacco lobbyist began writing books about history – or rather, creating historical PR. In a series of books called “Myths about Russia”, he set out to debunk Russian stereotypes and put new stories into their content. place. There were volumes on “Russian drunkenness, laziness and cruelty”, “Russian theft, soul and patience” and “Russian democracy, filth and imprisonment”.