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All Eyes on Putin

With press speculation mounting over how Vladimir Putin is going to play his opening speech in Davos at the World Economic Forum tonight, it will be exciting to see how the Prime Minister decides to play this momentous occasion.  Not only will it be the first time that a Russian leader has been given this introductory slot, but all eyes are on Putin to see how he will portray Russia during these times of economic turpitude and relative social unrest.

‘The first cracks in the formidable edifice of Mr Putin’s popularity are beginning to appear. Recent protests in Vladivostok over increased car import tariffs were suppressed by interior ministry troops flown to the Far East across eight time zones because local police could not be trusted. Anticipating further unrest as increases in living costs outstrip those of incomes for the first time in nearly a decade, Moscow has suspended jury trials for accused ringleaders.’

So says a leading article in The Times of London today, entitled ‘Vlad the Vulnerable’.  The piece is pre-emptive and pretty scornful, and speculates about what Putin might say tonight, suggesting that ‘candour and conciliation should be his watchwords’.  Sounds unlikely, doesn’t it?  Watch this space…