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It takes times of despotism, when the best and brightest of a country’s elite are obliged to fawn, flatter, and commit crimes to make their fortunes, that a sensitive man discovers that virtues are usually only vices in disguise. At any rate, that’s what La Rochefoucauld – ducal courtier, failed plotter, brilliant aphorist in the [...]

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MOSCOW – When a man runs for the office of Russian prime minister, he must first learn to crawl. Former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov mistakenly imagined he was on a high horse, when in early October he received a delegation from United States oil company ExxonMobil and allowed his guests to announce publicly that the [...]

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MOSCOW – Napoleon Bonaparte was the greatest tactician in European history. Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to understand how similar Russia’s situation, and his own, are to the circumstances facing France, and to Napoleon, when the country was encircled by hostile powers, led by the British; its treasury emptied by corruption and civil war; its [...]