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(By Chris Sharp) There is a story from out of the year 1990 that somehow keeps getting into my head.  From out of political exile, a loud blustery Russian named Boris Yeltsin was coming into power in the Soviet Union, and promising many changes.  And a shorter, quieter-spoken covert guy who came out of an even bigger nowhere was standing by Yeltsin’s side, former KGB Lt. Colonel Vladimir Putin,.

At first, Putin looked like a proverbial Stan Laurel to Yeltsin’s Oliver Hardy.

But people knew Boris Yeltsin, and that helped people trust Putin (of all things!).  Even in the face of the most severe Soviet stigma and exile, Yeltsin was a man who said what he thought and did what he said to bring about a new era in Russia.  At a time when the cause of democracy was barely confined to Russian artists and literary people, Yeltsin also brought in some heavy lifters to the movement.  That’s because artists and literary people have never influenced the greater population of Russians unless some leg-breakers in the cause enter for a final convincing argument.

So Vladimir Putin was the major heavy lifter and leg-breaker that Yeltsin felt would fend off the thugs that wanted to maintain in Russia a Stalinist/Brezhnev gangster dictatorship.

Let’s look closer at Vladimir Putin at that moment.

He had recently been retired by the KGB as many lieutenant colonels are who are not promoted to full colonel.   It also happens in America (it happened to my father, American Air Force Lt. Colonel William Sharp).  To be promoted to full colonel, there has to be a trust extended that opens up the military’s inner circle to the candidate.  It seems that even in the KGB where Putin seemed to perform extremely effectively in recruiting a spy force for the Soviet Union, Putin was not trusted enough by his superior officers to enter the KGB’s inner circle.

This can happen even if the candidate for further promotion performs brilliantly, and often it happens especially in the face of brilliant work.  In Russia, performing well in the military can have reverse results if you perform so well that you start to scare the hell out of the other people who share power.

In Putin’s case, it seemed that his dedication and skill in building a Soviet spy force led to his developing something like his own private army within the KGB.  And when Putin left the KGB, he took his own little gangster army with him to team up with the emerging political leadership team of Boris Yeltsin.

Apparently, Putin had several special skills that helped him build his little private army.

One recruiting tool was the traditional KGB skill of blackmail.  The KGB is always happy to blackmail any foreign exchange student or even the most minor diplomat or soldier into doing whatever spying that can be done.  Another recruiting tool into treasonous commitment is of course bribery, and on top of all this is a form of insidious flattery that comes off to the dupe as a form of long-deserved recognition.

There is no question right now that the number one person Putin and his ribald nameless gang would like to draw into their cause is the new American president, Donald Trump , using any and all of their old tricks.

Let’s go back to the year 2014, long before Trump had even slightly entered Putin’s picture, for what we had concluded about Putin then in one of my Beacon articles at that time:

In Russian politics, Putin ingratiated himself to the people who mattered and then he was quickly elevated in an opposite manner to how he was glued to his lower-officer’s status in the KGB.  Finally, he was handpicked to succeed Boris Yeltsin as president of Russia.  Because of the influence of Yeltsin – who is now going down in history as the only person to be legitimately voted to lead Russia – Putin won election as president.

Read more here: A Sharp View:  Putin is still the scariest guy on the planet