|Putin's real crime is that he has refused to play by the rules of globalization.|
Even the editors of Time magazine can occasionally display some some wisdom, and to begin the new year, they got two things right: first, they canned Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer; second, they named President Vladimir Putin "Person of the Year." Putin may not be very well understood in the America, but he’s certainly deserving of the prize. The recent Russian parliamentary election delivered his United Russia Party 315 seats in a 450-seat parliament. And with Dmitry Medvedev anointed as Putin's successor, it appears that Putin will continue to wield influence as Russia's new prime minister. Although some analysts have cried foul play in these elections, tampering would seem superfluous: Putin is one of the most popular Russian leaders of the past 85 years. Given the chaos of the 1990s, Putin has restored a sense of order and pride to Russia, and the Russians have demonstrated their devotion in these recent elections.
This affection is not shared by the American media elite, especially those in the neoliberal and neoconservative crowds, who usually have had nothing but negative things to say about the Russian president. Vice President Dick Cheney has warned that "opponents of reform are seeking to reverse the gains of the last decade"; Michael Ledeen hysterically predicted that Putin wants to "Finlandize Europe."
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