I believe it was annatar1914 that informed me that Putin was actually a pretty good guy.
That's a long story.
Perhaps the best book, for the geopolitical aspect, is Fiona Hill's huge book on Putin.
But this article talks about a bunch of them.
Counterintel guys are tacticians. Which is Putin's great strength, and his great weakness. He makes move after move that are tactically sound, often brilliant, but reveal a strategic weakness. Stealing the oil company made him one of the richest men in the world. It funds his imperial ambitions, but it also had Western investors running for the door.
The end result is the Curse of Oil. The economy isn't developing like it should. When the oil and gas run out, Russia goes back to it's historic role as the Sick Man of Europe.
Killing his enemies works, but it also resulted in the Magnitsky Act. Which is a complete nightmare for him. That was when he pulled out all the stops and started our little cyberwar. Putin is as much a crime boss as a leader of a government. Money laundering is how he makes things work, and the Magnitsky Act nearly ended that. It did stop it for a while. Of course, Trump isn't helping there... Point is, killing was tactically sound that resulted in a variety of serious long term problems. Tactically sound, strategically problematic.
Putin, like so many others, has an army of trolls, in addition to his propaganda machines. So you see his apologists everywhere. Hint, hint.https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-books-that-best-explain-putin-and-his-russia/2017/07/14/8f48d87c-6809-11e7-9928-22d00a47778f_story.html