Photo by Jonah Hokit

Franz Sedelmayer, German entrepreneur and former friend of Vladimir Putin, gives first-hand insights into Putin’s Russia.

Sedelmayer addressed students at Center Stage Feb. 8, after being invited by the Globle Engagement office. Sedelmayer recently published his book, Welcome to Putingrad, with John Weisman, where he explores his story working with and against Putin.

“When you sit across from Putin, he will try to be like you,” said Sedelmayer. “Putin will try and convince you, ‘you are my friend.’ He can change his colors in a second, I have seen it.”

Sedelmayer finds it interesting to compare Trump and Putin. “They have more things in common than what sets them apart,” he said. “Both rather short-tempered, both a little vain to put it mildly. They are both known for saying things no other politician would ever dare say on live television. They don’t like to read papers and documents and study from, they have people who do that for them…they are very spur of the moment and both people who will not necessarily plan for the next five to ten years.”

The younger generation is the only hope for fixing relationships with Russia, according to Sedelmayer.

“One thing I do know, Russia is not our friend right now and they will not be our friend until the day Mr. Putin and his people leave office.” He reminded students that Russia is a great place full of good people and similarly to the US, it is a place where young people can play a major role.

“Our office hosts many international dignitaries and prominent individuals throughout the year to lecture at UVU and felt that Mr. Sedelmayer’s insights on Russia would offer our students a unique view on a timely and often controversial topic,” Amy Barnett, Global Engagement coordinator, said.

“I think it was very interesting to hear about the relationships between Russia and the US,” said Chanel Short, a sophomore in arts. “I think we give Russia kind of a bad reputation because we don’t understand the history and hows it’s been.”