Foreign policy
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Vladimir Putin isn't as Russian as he seems

Six years after presiding over a one-third increase in pensions at the height of the last crisis, President Vladimir Putin, whose approval rating is near a record high, is now pegging changes in retirement payments to last year's inflation as he steers the bulk of a 2.3 trillion-ruble ($37 billion) program to support lenders and industry, almost half of it to recapitalize banks.

At a recent event, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell asked a question about Russian President Vladimir Putin: Is Putin better understood as product of a long history of Russian leaders, Morell asked, or is he something new on the Russian stage?..

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