Prime Ministership, Acting Presidency, First Term: Coverage of Putin August 1999-May 2004

As the current news cycle revolves around Russian lawyers, the Trump family, compromising information and, inevitably, Vladimir Putin, I’ve been delving into older news reports of the man, using the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, two reputable papers with slightly different bents. So far, I’ve read articles about Putin from August 1999, when he was nominated to be Yeltsin’s Prime Minister, to May 2004, when he was inaugurated for his second term. Here, I’m first going to draw out some of the most important events in these five years, and then nail down the broader trends that stuck out to me the most.

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American Media Perceptions of Vladimir Putin, from 1999 to Today

I propose to look at how, over the last two decades, American’s views of Russian President Vladimir Putin have changed. I plan to look at archives from the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, identifying the long-term trends as well as turning points. When Putin first came into power, America saw him as someone they could work with, a continuation of the tentative new democracy in Russia. George W. Bush famously met with Putin and “[got] a sense of his soul.” Seventeen years after Putin came into office, his commitment to Russian democracy is questionable as he prepares to run for his fourth term as president in 2018. His relationship with the US is rockier than ever, with congressional investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections now underway. I want to look at how the news media has covered this shift and whether I can find key moments in that shift.