The Russian At Center Stage

All politics are local for Vladimir Putin. For a few hours in Ljubljana this weekend he will be a world leader. He will look diffident and dignified in photo ops, engagingly youthful, speaking confidently and with apparent sincerity. Then he will go home to a country whose population once again declined by a quarter of a million people in the first three months of this year, whose infrastructure is on the verge of collapse and whose economy is crippled by corruption and bureaucracy. But while Bush and Putin are in their Slovenian castle, the Russian people will forget about their own...

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