One of the more unsettling things about Vladimir Putin is his smugness. He doesn’t necessarily present himself as the smartest guy in the room, but he does seem to enjoy being at least the most well-informed guy in the room. It’s a cold and calculated personality trait that probably comes from his history working in the KGB, and it’s also probably why he can impress idiots like Donald Trump so easily. To the rest of us, though, it’s clear that there’s usually some kind of hidden scheme going on just below the surface of everything he says.
Of course, sometimes the scheme isn’t hidden at all, like when he recently noted that “patriotically minded” Russian hackers may have actually influenced the U.S. presidential election. This comes from The New York Times, which reports that Putin says these purely hypothetical hackers may have thought they were doing the right thing in “the fight against those who say bad things about Russia,” and he adds that hackers in general are “like artists” who just wake up in the morning and pick targets/subjects based on how they’re feeling in any given moment. He also denies that Russia is doing any organized hacking like this “on the state level,” because they “do not need it.”
Basically, Putin’s whole response to the allegation that Russia influenced our presidential election in order to put Trump in charge is to shrug his shoulders and suggest that he doesn’t really know or care. It’s this weird dismissiveness that makes it clear that he either knows more than he’s saying or—in the unlikely event that he’s telling the truth—that he’s just absolutely tickled by the whole development. He’d have to be stupider than Trump not to notice just how far things are swinging in his favor these days, and that’s all happening because Trump is in power. Whether he really had anything to do with that or not, it’s seems suspiciously absurd for him to act so indifferent about it.