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“There are two famous last words,” Charles Bohlen, a US Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the start of the Cold War, once warned. “One is ‘alcohol doesn’t affect me’. The other is ‘I understand the Russians’.” Russians who confidently say they know what the Kremlin is about to do fall into both categories. Russia’s [...]

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MOSCOW – Roald Dahl, the English humorist, once wrote a tale about a man who had acquired the secret of seeing through cards. Naturally, he had to conceal it, if he was to make a killing at casinos. As professional gamblers all know, casino managements are constantly on the lookout for players with systems that [...]

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In the snow, Russian peasants still say, the law is like a sleigh. A clever judge can steer it either way. Vladimir Potanin, the controlling shareholder of Norilsk Nickel (NorNickel), Russia’s largest mining company, ought to know. In a decade of acquiring the assets that comprise his Moscow-based, multi-billion dollar holding Interros, he has had [...]