Commentary: Will Putin's Split Personality Hurt Russia?

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin seems to be operating at ideological cross purposes these days. On Dec. 11, he restored the melody of the old Soviet national anthem as Russia's new national song. Then, on Dec. 13, he headed to Cuba to revive lapsed ties between Moscow and Havana. Yet in this same period, Putin and his government also pressed forward with major economic reforms, including plans to deregulate Russia's electricity and gas monopolies. It sure looks odd: Putin is taking political steps back into the Soviet past, even as he moves forward toward a liberal market economy.

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