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Putin's KGB Profile Noted He Had a "Lowered Sense of Danger"
Mixed evaluation criticized him for tendency to underestimate risk
In June, as the year’s training course drew to a close, the instructors at Yurlovo wrote evaluations of the trainees in their charge. It was a moment everyone dreaded. Each student’s appraisal had to be summarised on four sheets of foolscap – psychological portrait, strengths, weaknesses, skills and shortcomings – culminating in a recommendation about the trainee’s future career. Some were ruled unsuitable for intelligence work altogether; others were rated ‘satisfactory’, which meant they would be sent to second-ranking posts; those with a positive evaluation could expect to be promoted.
Putin’s report was mixed. Colonel Mikhail Frolov, who was responsible for his section, wrote that he had a number of negative characteristics. He was ‘somewhat withdrawn and uncommunicative’ and had ‘a certain academic tendency’. Another of his instructors, Colonel Prelin, found him pedantic. Still worse, during a visit to Leningrad to see Lyudmila, he had got into a fight in the metro which had left him with a broken arm. Roldugin remembered him saying: ‘They are not going to understand this in Moscow. I’m afraid there are going to be consequences.’ He was right. His final report noted that he had ‘a lowered sense of danger’
It was not a disastrous evaluation but nor was it the result he had hoped for.