NEWSWATCH: “Three Rules of Kremlin Power” – New York Times/Maxim Trudolyubov

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

… Stalin and … Putin … are very different leaders living in very different times. I just cannot help noticing that they seem to follow the same playbook for being a successful autocrat. … Rule No. 1 calls for attributing all victories to oneself — regardless of who or what contributed to the perceived success. … Rule No. 2: Failures must be ascribed to subordinates or external forces. … Rule No. 3 is the ability to manipulate what used to be called the party line. … Putin has proved adept at all three. He took credit for the oil-driven economic boom (rule No. 1). Then when the economy tanked, he has allowed blame to be placed on his ministers, particularly Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev, or pointed a finger at the West (rule No. 2). And he has changed the party line with dizzying agility (rule No. 3). …

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