Putin and Absolute Corruption

Certain famous sayings stick in my mind. One of them, said to be Lord Acton’s dictum, is “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Judging by the mansions I understand he has scattered here and there, power corrupted Vladimir Putin. Lately, by means of brutal suppression of political adversaries, his power in Russia has ramped up close enough to the absolute level to make me wonder how he would act if became corrupted absolutely. Indeed, that may already have happened.

Absolute corruption can’t be just a matter of acquiring even greater amounts of material wealth. Surely it must involve something dramatic, something history making, something that makes the person with absolute power feel like he’s the master of the universe. Something on the order of another mansion or a bigger yacht wouldn’t satisfy that need. A whole country might seem to, at least for a while. Ukraine has become an obsession for Putin. His desire to control it may have crowded out everything else in his brain. Predicting how he will behave is virtually impossible. It’s a feature of his absolute corruption that one can’t expect him to be a rational man, much less a reasonable man, much less a good man.