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Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

The Vladimir Putin School of Leadership

The leaders of the world's biggest emerging countries are increasingly acting like Russia's Vladimir Putin. Therein lies a failure of Western democracy.
Sensei of emerging markets?
Sensei of emerging markets?

The leaders of some of the biggest developing nations -- China, India, Turkey, South Africa -- are increasingly acting like Russian President Vladimir Putin. It may be that democracy as the West understands it will have to compete with a new strain of authoritarianism, much as it did with communism in Soviet times.

"I feel our personalities are quite similar," China's Xi Jinping told Putin last year. He has since been likened to the Russian leader for exacting selective justice against his political rivals and making a show of personally eradicating corruption rather than building institutions to counteract it. Putin has famously focused his anti-corruption efforts on enemies such as opposition leader Alexei Navalny, rather than on his billionaire friends who are so improbably good at winning government contracts.