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You're reading: Russia Watch: Behind Putin’s smile for Kerry

On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin spent much of the day displaying on TV the
thin-lipped sneer he adopts when playing the Good Czar berating the Bad
Boyars. He marked his first year back in the Kremlin by berating his
cabinet for falling short of meeting goals.

The first impact of this tongue lashing came Wednesday with the
resignation Vladislav Surkov, a deputy prime minister and political
architect of what he called Russia’s “sovereign democracy.”

On Tuesday evening, President Putin’s next televised encounter should
have elicited more grimaces from Russia’s stern ruler. It was with John
Kerry, the new U.S. Secretary of State.

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