After a weak post-Soviet era leadership Russia was in urgent need of a strong leader — and so Putin stepped in.
As for how Putin sees himself, he did bring up several times his admiration for Peter the Great, so much so I was convinced he sees himself as his incarnation.
Putin had portraits of Peter the Great hung in several important meeting rooms there — rather than portraits of himself, as would be more customary.
What this means for Biden, Nato and Ukraine is slowly becoming clear. There is more to Putin than meets the eye.
One can only imagine what Putin thinks of Biden/Harris/Blinken/Sullivan/Austin.
In 1999, Vladimir Putin suddenly sprang from bureaucratic obscurity to the office of Prime Minister. When, a few months later, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and Putin was voted in as President, governments around the world were taken by surprise yet again.