I've read several bios of Putin over the past couple of years. To put it bluntly, the more you read the less you can discern.
Despite the disparity of opinions - which cannot be said to be impartial - by those who have dealt with him directly (one of whom, a severe critic, and who is no more) he's clever and he is, right now, the most self-controlled leader of any state on the planet.
Add in the bogus PR image he's been given (he was NOT the head of the KGB but was a dedicated officer of middle rank) and there isn't much one can say for sure other than he is someone to be taken seriously and he does know who his friends are.
Among those, he is exceptionally loyal.
It can also be said, reasonably, that he is NOT impressed with one single Western head of state currently in office, with the exception of Angela Merkel, who would, in my book, come in as the only other adult running a modern Western country between Vladivostok and Virginia horse country.
By way of pure conjecture, I would guess he spends a fair amount of time doubled over in laughter whenever he gets intelligence updates about Obama.
Finally, he is definitely NOT nekulturny, as can be seen at the very beginning of this video - which was probably the one high point of Western / Russian relations since 1989. (Putin appears at the 0:14 mark...)
So, as for Pat's paean, I hope he's right and we really do not "know how lucky we are, boy!"