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Start with what cannot be found outside of the mind of the malignant narcissist, i.e., the traumatic memory of “Narcissistic Mortification”. Diminishment. Humiliation. Shame. Whatever it was–a bullying theft on the street; an instance of sexual abuse by an authority or other overwhelming power; a “Jack and the Beanstalk” beat down by a parent–would have set off two related processes: covering over the moment and making of it either a terrible personal secret not to be shared or, perhaps, a complaint to shadow and ruin the life (for Putin, one might choose the former option, i.e., compartmenting the trauma); and splitting off the invention of a noble and undamaged self abetted by deceit in the creation of an heroic personal theater.

Most of us toughen up some with psychic injury, adjust our behavior to avoid a repeat experience or engage from a position of greater determination to prevail with dignity and strength. We’ll talk back to the nasty, speak truth to power, or dare introduce the bully to punishment as we produce greater force or response in relation to the presence of the same.

Chin up, in other words, and walk a little taller.

The malign might demand greater compensation in the way of power and emotional assurance. It may not be how they are or might be as ordinary persons that matters: it’s how they look–how others may perceive them–as extraordinary personages that matters most, for deep down they are still hiding their own humiliation and the dreaded fear of its return.

And how may one hide the truth?

Lie about it.

And how may one control the perception of others?

Create around or before them sufficient convincing theater to get them to do as one’s image may demand.

Punks have an easy list at their disposal: cheat, deceive, lie, and steal.

Get her a ring–who cares how you do it?–if it comes to that.


The personal and smaller matters lend themselves to convenient chicanery.

The corrupt and evil among politicians know more difficult strategies: big lies, deflections; false accusations, false flags, false presentations.

Where Putin lives, notch it up with military, paramilitary, and secret police forces tasked to manage state-devised compromise and reflexive control operations as well as total perceptual control buttressed by the methodical elimination of all of the sources of competition and criticism.

And should anyone in the darkness and shadows fuck up . . . cover it up–practice helps–and lie about it.

And should anyone possessed of integrity observe and report what has taken place, well, there are ways in which politically criminal and ruthless power may choose to defend its good image while in fact engaged in the most execrable evil.

A Few Reflections on Putin’s KGB Manual Updated to Support State Capitalists

How to Create Friendships with Powerful People

How to Deal with Adverse Intelligence or Related Battlefield Results

How to Discourage Democracy and Produce Healthy Authoritarians and Powerful Families Using Reflexive Control

How to Get Education

How to Handle the Dead the Modern Way

How to Handle the Memory of the Dead in Wartime

How to Honor the Dead in Small and Large Groups

How to Handle the Press

How to Inspire and Lead Troops Into Battle

How to Tell a Whopper!

How to Win Election to Presidency

How to Install a Useful War

How to Win Hearts and Minds in War

I’m sure there are other similarly clever methods for developing bear hugging personal relationships and influencing nations, quietly, and from behind the curtains, and as sources, insights, and opportunities develop, I may add to the above useful instructions.

Related Online

Bella, Timothy. “Thousands protest in Melitopol after Russian forces reportedly abduct mayor with a hood over his head.” The Washington Post, March 12, 2022.

Bertrand, Natasha. “Putin is going to extreme lengths to hide Russians who are dying while fighting in Ukraine.” Business Insider, May 26, 2015.

Davis-Marks, Isis. “Mass Graves in Ukraine Hold Thousands of Victims of Stalin’s Great Purge.” Smithsonian Magazine, September 3, 2021.

Dixon, Robyn. “Russian court abolishes country’s most prominent human rights group, Memorial.” The Washington Post, December 28, 2021.

Harding, Luke. ‘Old-style espionage’: Briton’s arrest feels like cold war throwback.” The Guardian, August 11, 2021.

Harding, Thomas. “Russian general killed and clutch of spy chiefs arrested.” National News UK, March 11, 2022.

Politkovskaya, Anna. “A Small Corner of Hell.” Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Satter, David. “The Unsolved Mystery Behind the Act of Terror That Brought Putin to Power.” National Review, August 17, 2016.

Schindler, John. “Exploring Al Qaeda’s Murky Connection to Russian Intelligence.” Business Insider, June 10, 2014.

Simon, Scott. “Why Do Russian Journalists Keep Falling?” NPR, April 21, 2018.

Stewart, Will, Chris Pleasance, and Tom Brown. “Putin ‘has placed the head of the FSB’s foreign intelligence branch under house arrest because he is furious at security services for failing to warn him’ that Ukraine could fiercely resist invasion.” Daily Mail, March 11, 2022.

Tiplady-Bishop, Lottie. “Jeffrey Epstein boasted about ‘flying to Moscow to visit Vladimir Putin’ as secrets behind his millions are revealed.” The Sun, July 19, 2020.

Whitmore, David. “Potemkinism.” The Power Vertical, RFE/RL, September 3, 2010.

The Telegraph, March 8, 2022.

History on YouTube, March 7, 2022.

The Telegraph, February 23, 2022.