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Putin’s Real Legacy

In a new editorial, the New York Times takes aim at the Kremlin’s favorite narrative that Russia was in hopelessly dire straits before Vladimir Putin took power, and that the solution to all the country’s ills was to reign in the oligarchs by imprisoning Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The editors argue: “The Kremlin and its apologists always have the same explanation: look how bad things were; surely the most important thing is to rein in the oligarchs and restore political and economic stability. But that does not justify the setbacks to the rule of law, the systematic hounding of rivals and critics, the settling of scores, the constant snarling at the West or the massive state inroads into private enterprise. In five years, the state has increased its share of the stock market from 24 percent to 40 percent. These are Putin’s true legacy.