Well, like him or loathe him you cannot knock Vladimir Putin and the success of the Russian World Cup tournament. Against all the negativity of those who warned people not to go against allegations of unfriendliness, racism, and thuggery, the truth is that Russia emerged with a much higher respect from people around the world than before the tournament.
ignoring issues like political hacking, election rigging, spying, poison attacks in rural Wiltshire, and all of that dark arts malarkey the Russian nation have sold the world a very different image of Russia that was previously the norm. Namely that they were the world aggressors and that invasions of neighbours were perfectly reasonable. Indeed if you reflect on Mr Putins career as a former KGB officer, you have to ask yourself what it was that he did. Firstly protect the motherland and discredit enemies. Is it therefore surprising that he would take those same skills forward into his next job.
I find Putin a fascinating individual, he has certainly seemed to renew Russian faith in the motherland. He seems to thrive on his notorious and fierce protection of his interests. Even if this means contract killings, hacks, and intimidation are part of his arsenal. To be fair it is not surprising that was what he did for a living. The Russian World Cup will be remembered for being an excellent sporting event, the greatest show in the world. Personally I loved it and enjoyed excellent games played in a generally good spirit, some amazing goals, and lets be honest if you told me England would come fourth and nearly made the final, and that Harry Kane would win the Golden Boot with 6 goals, I would have taken it willingly.
As for President Putin it was very fitting that as he stood on the podium with Mr Macron the President and the nice proud lady President from Croatia, it was only him that was provided with an umbrella while the rest of them got soaked to the skin. But they were not bothered their nations were the victors in the football competition. But mother Russia was the PR victor, and Mr Putin enjoyed the biggest grin, job done.