Three little-known traits of President Putin

President Putin is a procrastinator, trusts his intuition more than expert advice and never touches dirty money, according to people who personally know him

Franz Sedelmayer, a German who had a business in St. Petersburg in the early 1990s and had numerous contacts with President Putin both in Russia and Germany, mentioned three things that rarely have been written about.


Putin is a procrastinator. True to his habit of painstaking preparation, he long keeps the most important things on the back burner. He seemingly waits for the moment of lucidity that comes from the sheer amount of accumulated information. Only then he makes decisions, often based on an emotional response that makes it look like a snap judgment.

Trusts his intuition

Putin trusts his own experience and gut feeling much more than all his experts and tomes of research. When he needs to handle complicated matters, he seems to see the role of experts in throwing challenges at his preconception, which he often avoids to share with others. In the end, he rarely accepts what others bring to the table. This is why he hates long, complicated briefings and policy papers. Also, this is why he likes to surround himself with people who can provide several different approaches to the same issue, or even better compete with each other.

Doesn’t touch dirty money

Putin, during his work in St. Petersburg for the liberal mayor of Sobchak, was known to never take bribes. What he did was cover bribe-takers who handled the contributory part of the deals he supervised.

In the picture below (photo of TASS), Vladimir Putin is watching Sobchak’s back in St. Petersburg in the early 1990s. Putin’s claim to fame among the clan of President Yeltsin as an unfailing sidekick and trusty workhorse—which ultimately secured him the top job in the Kremlin—was to protect the fortune that Sobchak was stashing away in Paris, and later exfiltrate him out of Russia when his enemies were about to get the man.

Vladimir Putin Mayor Sobchak right hand Petersburg 1990s
Vladimir Putin in his time as Mayor Sobchak’s right hand in St. Petersburg in the 1990s. Photo: TASS