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The Flattery of Leaks

From Andrew Osborn in The Telegraph with regard to Vladimir Putin, Wikileaks, the murder of Alexander Litvinenko:

In fact, far from being offended by this latest accusation, Mr Putin may even be revelling in it. Though some of the other leaked cables paint a damning picture of the country he has helped create, Mr Putin loves a fight and has long since understood that his KGB past has helped him cultivate the strong man image that many ordinary Russians love and many in the West despise and fear.

He may ironically also feel a bit more loved by Washington. If there is one thing that has infuriated the Kremlin since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, it has been the sense that its old Cold War foe was not taking it seriously or giving it the respect Moscow thought it deserved. The leaked cables may have said nothing good about Mr Putin or Russia but at least they showed that America is still watching and listening.