These days, as never before, my thoughts are drawn toward the impressive and controversial figure of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. There is no doubt that, for the time being, this person is playing a key role both in Russian events and in world affairs.

Some months ago, unexpectedly for the international political and diplomatic circles, it was Putin who proposed a solution to the stockpiling and use of chemical weapons in Syria — no matter how palliative and temporary this solution might turn out.

A little later he managed to "persuade" Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych to freeze — most probably, once again temporarily — the cooperation agreement with the European Union, a step at least partly taken in exchange for a $15 billion credit needed by this "brother" country struggling against a severe budget crisis.