I, Putin Wins Honorable Mention at NY Book Festival!

I am delighted to announce that I, PUTIN (Vladimir Putin novel) won an Honorable Mention at the New York Book Festival 2012!

I’m so happy for the author, Jennifer Ciotta. And I’m sure Gospodin Putin would be proud too. I still haven’t told him about the book, though I think he would like it very much.

Oh, and I know Americans are about to celebrate Father’s Day, so make sure to buy your father a copy of I, PUTIN, which is available on Amazon in paperback and on the Kindle, and on the Nook, iBook, Sony ereader and more.

Congratulations!

~ Gosha

Botox & Hot Women: How Vladimir Putin Will Tweak His Image

Vladimir Putin will be inaugurated again, for the third, yep, the third time as president of Russia. So what are we to expect? People ask me this question when they’ve heard I’ve written a novel about Putin, and my answer is: TWEAK.

Putin is learning how to become the master of tweaking his image. Will he change overnight, wake up and become Mr. Nice Guy? No. But he will tweak his image to keep his popularity in Russia, to keep that 60 percent of the vote. Two ways he’s done it so far is by embracing his “ladies man” image, since he is rumored to be having an affair with 1) a hot Russian spy and/or 2) a super flexible Russian gymnast. Either way, it looks good for him, since he’s seen as young, vital and energetic–all the qualities that helped him get elected the first time around, because he was a departure from the aging, inebriated Boris Yeltsin.

Then there’s the face. I personally cannot tell if he’s had Botox or a facelift, yet I’m going to venture it’s a combination of both. Putin’s face looks scarily soft, shiny and wrinkle-free. People may be critical of his decision to beautify himself, but really, what choice does he have? He’s pushing 60, a portion of the Russian middle class resents him and he has to appear young if he plans to stay in power until 2024. Imagine if Dick Cheney had some needles injected in his face; it may have done wonders for his political career.

As far as I’m concerned, Putin will not make a huge change to his personality and the way he conducts business. Instead, he’ll focus on tweaking his image here and there. A little nip here. A little tuck there. Here are the tweaks I believe Putin will make in the near future:

  • Ripping off his shirt once a month (at least)
  • Selecting a television program to make fun of him…a little
  • Entering the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, just to prove he’s still got it

 

Whether Russians like it or not, they have another six years of Putin. He will be the same Putin, the one we know today, and the one we’ll know even more after the next six years as president.

Available on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

The Day I Realized The Bad Guy Isn’t All Bad

When we’re children, we think of our parents as idols. My dad is the strongest, my mom is the prettiest. But that fades away over time, as we realize our parents are flawed human beings. They’re people with many facets; they have sides good and bad, and so does everyone around us. I remember my professor at NYU saying, “People are not all good nor all bad.”

The day I found this out was when I discovered my friend’s grandfather was a Nazi. I remember being told, frozen at the news, thinking of the fragile old man sitting in his wheelchair. He seemed so sweet and gentle. Then I kept recalling more memories of him, the accurate ones, where he was sweet and gentle, but he barely uttered a word, even to his grandchildren. The blanket pulled over him, I observed the faraway look in his eyes. What was he thinking about?

I only saw the man a few times, since he never left the house. Several years later, his past was discovered in a town that was heavily populated by Jews, some of them Holocaust survivors. Many wanted him tried and deported. That was the last I’d heard of the man, and today, I’m sure he’s passed away.

I wonder if the man was brainwashed, as many of the Nazi youths were. Did he not know right from wrong? Or should all human beings innately understand right from wrong? All these questions and no answers, except one: The bad guy isn’t all bad.

I’m sure the man loved his family and they loved him; they loved him enough to keep him in “hiding” and protect his reputation. And they were good people. They certainly weren’t villains, nor did they possess Nazi-like qualities.

The few times I met him, I wasn’t scared of him. I just thought, “What a sweet old man,” as he nodded to recognize my existence.

Now, as an adult, I know that bad guys aren’t all bad. For example, Malcolm X became militant out of self-preservation, Genghis Khan treated his soldiers fairly well and even Hitler loved his German shepherd.

Which brings me to why I’m telling you all of this: I want you to download my novel for only $2.99 on the Amazon Kindle.

If you have any interest in delving into the psyche of the bad guy, my novel is for you. Vladimir Putin is usually portrayed as a modern-day villain, but I portray him as human. If you’d like to discover the lesser-known, humanizing side of Vladimir Putin, then I encourage you to download my book.

Did I mention it has five stars on Amazon, and that it received over 500 downloads in one day? But you can put all that aside, and read it and let yourself be the judge.

Thanks for support. Here is the link: I, Putin

What Don Draper Can Teach President Obama

Don Draper is back (after a long hiatus), and he’s ready to teach lessons. For those of you who watch the AMC hit show Mad Men, you know Don Draper isn’t your average protagonist. He’s complex, dark and he blurs the lines of good and bad, right and wrong. At some points, he’s almost a villain, but to me, he’s a teacher.

Though the show takes place in the 1960s, Draper teaches lessons for today, and more importantly, he teaches lessons that our own President Obama can learn. First off, what do Draper and Obama have in common?

Both are unlikely success stories.

Both are unlikely leaders.

Both are not easily understood.

What I believe Draper can most teach Obama is how to stand his ground. Many voters elected Obama, as if he was Jesus Christ coming to save us all, but in reality, he’s a person. Yet a person can wield power and influence if asserted in the right way. After nearly four years in office, Obama has proven that even the president of the United States can be steamrolled by his own party.

Don Draper would never allow that.

His colleagues fear him a bit (sometimes a good thing), and they know who is boss. Draper tells them what to do and how to do it, especially since he’s the talent behind the company. Even when a very rich client demands that she is right in keeping the tainted name of her dog food brand, Draper tells her any ad agency who agrees to her bad decision is stealing her money. And she leaves.

Sometimes Obama needs to stand up to the rich client.

Draper is also innovative. He shows his innovation by going against the grain and refusing to write ads for the tobacco companies. In the 60s, it was all about smoking, so to not advertise for it, you’re a freak. But an innovative freak. And Draper’s bold moves pay off as season four closes with a client who wants an anti-smoking campaign. As Draper’s colleague Peggy says, “If you don’t like what they’re saying about you, change the conversation.”

Can Obama change the conversation? If he’s elected for the next four years, will he become the unlikely leader, innovator and presidential success story many Americans have hoped for?

I’m not sure. But I am sure that Don Draper will continue to lead, surprise and succeed in this next season of Mad Men, and I’m curious to see what new lessons we can all learn from him.

~ Jennifer Ciotta, author of I, Putin

 

Available in Paperback & Kindle

Mark Adomanis, Gospodin Putin Has Game

I had a day off! Finally! Gospodin Putin called a long weekend for Russians this past weekend and he actually gave me the day off. The first one in months. Frankly, I didn’t know what to do with myself, but I did end up purchasing a couple rugs for my flat. I also had beers with a friend, and did the important task of counting all the money in my bank accounts. I’m saving a lot more now that Arkady is taking care of Tanya.

Anyway, I decided to post another blog, and this one is in response to “United Russia Loses Yet Another Election” written by Forbes.com columnist Mark Adomanis on March 19, 2012. As Americans love to say, when someone has skills of a particular kind, he has “game.” And that is what Putin has. After working for him for 12 years, I can say this with certainty. Mr. Adomanis does not take into account that my boss has many skills in the area of reinvention of self. They may be slight and hardly noticeable to some, but Putin knows how to change with the wind.

He separated himself from United Russia, the party he originally created. And I believe he will continue to separate from UR. Yes, Mr. Adomanis discusses the mayoral election in Togliatti, and yes, it is a large city, but Putin has options. He can completely break ties with UR to strengthen his image, or if need be he can extend his vertikal power structure down to the local governments. Putin is popular in the provinces, so I wouldn’t see this re-structuring as a problem, only to the West and the liberal hardliners in Piter and Moscow. Ask most Russians about Putin and they would say, “Why not Putin?”

The Western media loves to plot the demise of my boss, but the reality of the situation is Putin won the presidential elections. He is still popular in Russia, and the West is exaggerating the protests. It’s like your Occupy Movement. No one is storming the White House and trying to throw Obama out of power.

The protests were hard on Putin right before the presidential election. He walked around the house with shoulders curved in and took many meals in his office. But after he won, he realized the majority still want him in power. So (thank God) he’s been in a much better mood the past several days.

The moral of the story: Don’t count out my boss, Mr. Adomanis. Putin knows exactly what he’s doing and has the skills to back it up.

It’s Putin’s Business, Not Yours

Gospodin Putin has been quite grumpy this past week. All the protests and such. And, of course, it’s ruining my day, because I’m simply his shadow. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Russian President Vladimir Putin’s (fictional) personal aide. You may recognize me from I, Putin (Vladimir Putin novel) by Jennifer Ciotta. I’ve decided to put my English to good use and start this blog.

As you can imagine, I shouldn’t be writing about my boss. I’d be fired on the spot, but he doesn’t read English (or claims not to) and he has a lot going on right now. Also, I’ve arranged for my IP address to lead back to an American computer, so I should be fine.

For those of you who have read the novel, yes, I’m still working for Putin, and yes, he was re-elected to the presidency last week. I haven’t had a break from my job in months, literally not a day off.

In the interest of some creative expression, I think I’ll use this forum to discuss how I feel about articles and people I find fascinating, and I’ll keep you up-to-date on my life and Putin’s life. So let’s start.

On March 6, 2012, Professor Stephen Cohen of New York University did an interview on DemocracyNow.org. Watching the broadcast, I was impressed with one of Cohen’s statements: “Vice President Biden went to Russia last year and tried to persuade Putin not to return to the presidency. In a crude way, it’s none of our business.”

He’s right.

It isn’t crude or outlandish, it’s the truth. Could you imagine Gospodin Putin or Medvedev telling Obama he shouldn’t run for president this year? It would be considered extremely rude, arrogant and an overstep of bounds, but for some reason, the US thinks she can do that.

The US has a long history of involving herself in situations where she doesn’t belong. Sometimes, it’s proven beneficial i.e. World War II, while other times, it’s been invasive. To me, we have a democracy in Russia, but it’s a different kind of democracy than the US. People were protesting on the streets earlier today, similar to the Occupy Movement. As Cohen said, there are rules for protestors, like the US. In fact, several months ago I saw on television New York City policemen kicking the Occupy protestors out of their tent cities for rules of sanitation, and if I remember correctly, technically NYC parks are closed after dark. Thus, the police had the right. It’s the same here; once the permit time expires, the protestors have to go, but the important part is they are able to protest. If you ask me or my sister Tanya, that’s a far cry from the Soviet Union, where we couldn’t utter a word against the government.

As a loyal Russian, I’m proud of my country, and I’m proud of how far we’ve come since the fall of the Soviet Union. Many people around the world doubted our organizational skills, yet we organized efficiently, and in a span of less than 25 years, we are a superpower once again. We have achieved democracy, perhaps not in a Westernized form, but it is a democracy.

I’m exhausted. It’s 22.31 Moscow time and I have to get up at 6.00. I’ll write soon.

пока (bye),

гоша (Gosha)