Why Rodrigo Duterte should seize any available opportunity to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin

Duterte-Putin-300x225In the upcoming ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit in Laos, President Rodrigo Duterte has an opportunity to meet other heads of state. Reportedly, the prospect of meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin is something Duterte looks forward to:

Duterte, after meeting repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2, confirmed that he was meeting Putin when world leaders meet in Laos next week.

“That I look forward to. Gusto ko si Putin (I like Putin),” Duterte told reporters with a grin.

Duterte also acknowledged that he was also like Putin: “Pareho kami… Baka sa girls. (We’re similar…maybe with girls)”

Like Duterte, Putin is known for being outspoken and for making firm but controversial decisions.

Though western media, mostly American, has made comparisons between Duterte and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the past, some outfits, like Morning News USA, have compared Duterte to Putin. They cite similarities, aside from making contentious statements, such as perceived anti-American sentiment, and supposedly questionable psychological profiles and well-beings. Though their backgrounds in law also indicate another common area, their career paths to the highest offices in their respective governments have been markedly different.

Though he began his professional career as part of the City Prosecution Office in Davao City, majority of Duterte’s career has been spent in politics. He had spent more than 20 years as Davao City Mayor, and the rest of his career was as Davao City Vice-mayor, and as Congressman. Duterte is held in high regard by Davaoeños for the work he has done in making their city safe, livable, and largely crime-free. In the 2016 elections, Duterte was elected 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines.

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Putin, on the other hand, had spent 16 years in the KGB (in English, Committee for State Security), and had been assigned to the East German office from 1985 until the Berlin Wall fell down. After that, he returned to his home town of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and worked under several local government offices until his former professor, Anatoly Sobchak, lost his reelection bid for mayor. In 1996, Putin started working in Moscow as part of the Presidential Property Management Department. He had also served as part of the Presidential Staff under Boris Yeltsin. In August 1999, Putin was appointed, first as Deputy Prime Minister, then as Prime Minister. On 31 December 1999, Yeltsin stepped down, and according to Russia’s constitution, Putin was to be the Acting President of the Russian Federation until elections could be called. Vladimir Putin first officially became president in 2000. He is currently serving his third term as president, after also being elected in 2004, and serving as Prime Minister from 2008-2012.

What Putin has over Duterte is almost two decades of experience in both the highest government office and the international arenas. If the two do get a chance to meet, it is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Duterte to exchange insights with a leader who can be best described as a pragmatist – one who exists outside the Western sphere of influence. Putin can also be described as a leader who has cemented his political future at home, and thus gives much less importance to outside perception, Western in particular, of his leadership and Russia’s place in global affairs.

Though Duterte and his Philippines will never, not in this lifetime at least, achieve the position that Putin and his Russia have – one as counter-balance to dominant US global influence – it will do him well to establish relations with a world leader, one whom the West has, inadvertently or not, mistakenly alienated, and get a more holistic view of global affairs not yet “poisoned” by incompatible Western “values”, idealism, and ways of thinking. As the world slowly but surely moves away from the domination of US influence, and other players like China, India, and Russia come into the picture, Duterte, for the ultimate benefit of the Philippines, will have to learn how to play along, and move away from the tradition of putting all the Philippines’s eggs in the American basket.

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org articles, “Vladimir Putin”, and “Rodrigo Duterte”, in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that govern usage of content made available in this site. Photo courtesy: newsfeed.ph]

17 Replies to “Why Rodrigo Duterte should seize any available opportunity to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin”

  1. This is quite an insightful article, it would be an opportunity not to be missed!
    This would not be an encounter between two theorists living in their ivory towers – but between two pragmatic men of action who are blunt, know exactly what needs to be done, and go ahead and get it done.
    Their methods may be open to criticism, but nobody can accuse them of being indecisive, vacillating, or unfocused on what their true intentions are.
    God writes straight with crooked lines: this may be their moment to get an insight into the future, and take the right steps to ensure the best for their people.

  2. Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves and treat Putin as if he’s a credit to his country, or that his experience governing post-Communist Russia is in anyway applicable to our situation here.

    (He is a credit to his country, yes — but only if you’re convinced that only an authoritarian can and must rule Russia.)

  3. Vladamir Putin is a strong leader. Russia needs a strong leader. He is demonized by the U.S. media and the Western media. However, I see him as a very strong leader. He is more of a pragmatist, than an ideologue.

    His involvement in Ukraine and Syria, is a controversial topic to be discussed. Only history will judge, if he is right or wrong.

    There is no harm for Pres. Duterte, to meet with Vladimir Putin. We have to see the other side of the world. What he can offer to us. Not, just U.S. and western countries can offer to us. It is not a “Bear Hug” for Duterte. And, Putin is a human being, not a “Bear” , with the same needs and outlook, as we all are…

  4. Russia has a deep understanding of geopolitical issues and Duterte could use some of their intel. I particularly like Russian scholar Stephen Cohen for his analyses on Russia, and the works of William Engdahl.

  5. approved!
    to me, we can enjoy USA entertainment but culturally, we are different. governance, criminal punishment must be compatible with our nature as people. Do we wish our people to reach the highest intellectual level? Do we wish that our people put effort in pursuing the knowledge of science and technology? to love arts and music? then forget american democracy.

    1. That is true! We have been influenced by the USA in a number of ways, but mostly at the surface level stuff! Deep down, our peoples are still VERY DIFFERENT fundamentally speaking, so we can’t keep forcing American stuff in our country because they will not always work for us! In fact I’ve heard many Filipinos with extensive foreign interaction experience mention that we are more like the Russians than the Americans as a people, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t foster closer ties with them!

  6. just in terms of OFWs working there, perhaps that’s an idea that could be brought up.
    It’s such a huge country with so many time zones,
    maybe just the time to revive a tourist industry
    from Siberia?
    and more cultural exchanges too?

  7. How we present ourselves at any given time is dependent on the situation. We constantly balance the tension of high aspirations with the pragmatism of realistic expectations. The key is to represent ourselves in such a way that we can fulfill the expectations we create.

  8. What is Duterte going to say to Putin? “Can I have your aotograph?”. Look, the Pailippines is firmly held in the palm of the USA. IF IF IF Duterte were to make a move to get the Philippines into some sort of relationship with the Russian Federation or China is such a way as to get rid of all ties to the USA, he would be assasinated before it could be done.

    The Philippines is under the thumb of the USA, and there it is going to stay. Wanna bet on it?

    1. I definitely agree on you.., if the US of A reckons we tend to lean onto russians, then the jackals of corporatocratic usa will kill our president. That is a sure thing.

        1. They will try to kill/overthrow him no doubt, especially if/when Killary gets elected! But they haven’t always succeeded with their plans – stranger things have happened in geopolitics before so no outcome’s absolutely certain – just look at Cuba, which was long a neo-colony of the USA until Fidel Castro stormed in, for instance!

          And Du30 can definitely learn from Putin (who himself has been the subject of endless geopolitical intrigues by the US corporatocracy to overthrow him so they can return the clock to the “glorious 1990s” that most Russians over the age of 25 would remember very bitterly) tips on how to thwart the jackals!

          One thing is for certain – we do live in interesting times and we have to be ready for the rollercoaster ride wherever it will take us!

  9. I shudder to think what possible “lessons” President Duterte would learn from President Putin. If one would apply President Putin’s methods to the Philippines, we’d have long invaded Sabah, killed all civilians in Basilan and Sulu to destroy Abu Sayyaf, and arrested the likes of Michael V and Vice Ganda whenever they poke fun at the government. Jeez.

    1. Problem is we don’t possess weapons like what the Russians have. Otherwise Sulu would have been a no man’s land and the Abu Sayyaf would be operating somewhere else far from Philippine territory (if most of them managed to survive).

      1. Get rid of the Philippine Senate members and start allocating the country’s fund to strengthen the armed forces and law enforcement agency. Then you’ll have the means to fight the Abu Sayaf and other warring factions in the country.

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