8 dictators who are better at despotism than Putin [SLIDESHOW]

Vladimir Putin is a rather new hand at the whole despotism business. You can attack dissident media, invade Ukraine, pass anti-gay propaganda laws, throw corrupt and ostentatious sporting events and continue to control the government through a puppet after you leave an office, but despotism is more than just that.

As Putin has invaded Crimea, he has staked not only his foreign policy plans but his legacy as a strongman. Will he be remembered as a strong ruler and restorer of Russian glory, as argued by his propaganda image? Or will he fail?

Here are eight dictators who are better at that whole tyranny business than Putin.

Click an image below for larger version.
  • Kim il-Sung, Eternal President of North Korea and progenitor of that benighted despotism's Kim dynasty. Photo: Wikipedia user Gilad Rom.
  • Robert Mugabe has, since seizing power as the first president of Zimbabwe, run his country into the ground through corruption and economic mismanagement. (Photo: Public domain)
  • Sukarno, the first president of Indonesia, notably seized East Timor much as Putin has tried to seize Crimea. (Photo: Public domain)
  • America's longtime bete-noire, Fidel Castro, has held power in Cuba since his 1959 Revolution, even after he officially relinquished the presidency in 2008. (AFP/Getty Images)
  • Portuguese leader Antonio de Oliveira Salazar maintained power both in Portugal and in Portuguese Africa until a brain hemorrhage in 1968. (Photo: Public domain)
  • The Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, seen here in his signature leopard-skin hat, renamed his nation Zaire and had television news broadcasts show his face descending from the heavens at the beginning of each show. (Photo: Public domain)
  • Ho Chi Minh, America's foe in the Vietnam War and founding despot of Communist Vietnam. (Photo: Hulton Archives/Getty Images)
  • Here is Spain's former dictator Francisco Franco portrayed as a crusader. And yes, he is still dead. (Photo: Public domain)