MOSCOW – When a tsar is treated with mockery, rather than regarded with awe, it is time for him to consider retirement, or to prepare for a palace coup. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who intends to stage a glorious return to the Kremlin as President in the election scheduled for March next year, should reflect on that choice. This year began with a vigorous (by Russian standards) Internet petition urging Putin to take the first option. Then the whole country laughed when, durin...


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