Russian President: Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin has made Russia great, again. The man has been the leader of the Russian nation for decades, outlasting all of his democratic, counterparts. Putin is a former KGB operative, who succeeded Boris Yeltsin.
From the time Putin became Russian President, a new cold war happened, lasting to the present day. Russia has flexed its muscles on the world stage, whether it be the invasion of Crimea, in Syria, etc, Russia is no power to ignore. Russian planes have buzzed the edges of the UK's or US's airspace. Attacks on former Russian citizens, by Russian intelligence, have led to their death, in Western countries. Russia has ensured Western sanctions, because of its actions worldwide, but that has not stopped Russia.
When Trump came to power alleged Russian collusion was suspected, and certainly, Trump and Putin seemed to enjoy warm relations. Russia supplies much of Europe and the EU with gas with its company 'Gazprom'. Nordstream 2 a gas pipeline from Russia - Germany and other EU nations, will soon be switched on. Many fear this will increase Europe's dependency on Russian gas. It is also, feared, Putin will weaponize this gas, to bend Europe to his will, (if he has not already done so).
For example, during a dispute between Ukraine and Russia, 18 European countries suffered poor gas supply. The same thing happened when Russia invaded the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
Russia supplies 43% of 27 European nations. This will increase as Nord Stream 2 comes online. The Kremlin and Gazprom, have denied they would use or have used gas as a weapon. Of course, the Russians, are never going to admit that they have done this. The Russians have also been accused of tinkering with the European gas supply, hence we have seen, a rise in the price of gas.
Of course, the traditional view of any Russian menace to Europe has been viewed, as a military invasion. And, this should not be ruled out, Putin knows he has a hold over Europe with the gas supply, so why wouldn't he use gas as a weapon, against his enemies?
How long President Putin will go on for, cannot be said, but Putin is in the tradition of hard Russian rulers. Comparisons have made been between Ivan the Terrible or Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Putin. Putin hangs onto power like a dictator while seemingly acting like a democratically elected leader. Putin crushes all opposition that may threaten his rule, again, like his Russian leader, forebears. Putin may be looking to any potential successor to himself and his legacy, but for now, the Russian leader is going nowhere.
Nick Bishop (author) on October 11, 2021:
Thanks for your interesting response.
CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on October 10, 2021:
Russia or times before the Soviet Union never held Europe hostage over natural gas supply. But gas transit nations like the Ukraine did indeed tamper with the valves and created shortages some years ago. This being one major reasons for a transit independent gas pipelines like North Stream 1 and 2.
Russia can´t hold Europe hostage for another reason. There simply is only limited demand for gas, please not to be confused with spot market price hikes due to insufficient storage capacities of some countries (especially the UK).
Demand for natural gas has not risen (almost a flat line) for the past 25 years in Germany. And this already takes into account the restructuring of the German electricity generation away from nuclear and lignites.
Fear to be taken hostage was more due to USA (under Trump) bullying their fracking gas into Europe.
For the future the long term use of natural gas will go down. Already now renewable energy has more than replaced natural gas in electricity generation. Only industry and household consumption are moreless steady in their gas consumption. So nothing to worry about.
I admit, this has a political component, but the bully is more to be seen on the other side of the Atlantic.