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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


? President Vladimir Putin's canny message to the outside world is that his post-Yeltsin Russia will be a stable, business-friendly democracy, committed to open markets, lower taxes and state sector reform; a Russia with which the West would do well to engage through trade, aid, investment and commonsense realpolitik.

It is, in fact, the message he knows the West badly wants to hear.

How else to explain its silence over still-unchecked atrocities in Chechnya and the EU's sickening, cynical decision this week to resume $90 million of suspended Russian aid? ?

In his national address, the president resurrected the age-old Russian ideal of strong state, strong leader while warning of fearsome chaos if his will were thwarted.

Authority, he said, "should rely on the law and a single, vertical line of executive power." At last, all is clear! Here is a true Platonic solution. Mr. Putin and his pals in his unelected Security Council will be the unfettered arbiters of the laws, while ultimate decision-making rests with him alone.

For those in the West who have not already turned a blind eye, Mr. Putin's two-faced, tsarist tendencies will bear close watching.

July 12