Putin understands the way that corruption both fuels Russia and makes it manageable. When the rules can be bent and are impossible to observe, everyone is vulnerable.
He has unleashed the two most sinister forces of his country's Stalinist past: the totalitarian habits of the security services and the imperialist urge that lies deep in the Russian psyche.
Putin is trying to recreate an empire reminiscent of the Soviet Union -- feared by its own people, its neighbours and the West in equal measure.
And the tragedy is that we in the West are letting it happen.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Putin and the New Empire
Edward Lucas takes a penetrating look at Vladimir Putin, his former neighbour: