Mother Russia is a much different country from the Stalin gulags. With all the faults of a long tradition of authoritarian rule, it is natural for observers in the West to be suspect of the latest would be Czar. The remnants of the cold war linger with concerns of the true motives and goals of a second Vladimir Putin era. By most reliable accounts, he never left the power circle prior to his return as President. Upon his latest election, The Guardian published an article Putin's election victory is a headache for the west. "Nobody is any doubt that the Putin who returns to the Kremlin in May is the same Putin who has effectively run Russia for the past 12 years – prickly, uncompromising, suspicious and fond of snide remarks about western hypocrisy and double standards."
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