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In the Sauna with Vladimir Putin

Did that headline get your attention? Me too, and we’re not talking about a scene from Eastern Promises … The Times has another Ed Lucas book review today by the historian Robert Service, which argues that this “firecracker” of a book could benefit from “more shading”:

The New Cold War’s purpose is to sound an alarm about the untoward consequences of allowing Russia to go on behaving badly. The chapters are a polemic against Western politicians and businessmen who turned a blind eye to the bullying tactics used by the Kremlin in Europe during the Putin presidency. The former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder typified the corrupted condition of the European approach to Russia. Before coming to power he criticized his predecessor for indulging in “sauna diplomacy”. Then he entered the sauna himself, and was rewarded with a place on the board of Gazprom when he stepped down as Chancellor.

Actually it was the board of Nord Stream that Schröder joined, leading the recently deceased American congressmen Tom Lantos to characterize him as a prostitute. Ouch – it really doesn’t get any better than that…