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  • OPINION

    The biggest problem of the West is dwindling trust

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 06/01/2017

    » Many Americans gasp when they see Donald Trump mockingly put the word "intelligence" in quotes when referring to the US intelligence community; it seems heretical to challenge the wisdom and expertise of institutions charged with safeguarding their security and freedoms. As a Russian, I just shrug: I have never believed a word coming from my country's intelligence services. This cultural gap is shrinking, though. Western societies are turning into low-trust ones, after the post-Communist, Eastern European model.

  • OPINION

    Putin sees himself as world's 'chess grandmaster'

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 09/01/2017

    » Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a roll. The catalog of his alarming moves is well-known: aggression in Ukraine, interference in Syria on the side of President Bashar al-Assad, stepped-up intelligence efforts that may include a hybrid operation to discredit Hillary Clinton, a slick, prolific propaganda machine, support for nationalist and populist movements in Europe. But why is Mr Putin doing all this?

  • OPINION

    Facebook can't have it both ways

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 24/03/2017

    » Nearly everyone has criticism for German Justice Minister Heiko Maas's proposal to impose fines on social networks and their workers for failure to delete hateful content. Internet freedom advocates hate it for imposing censorship. The European Union is concerned for the same reason and the German union of judges and prosecutors criticise it for not going far enough because the posters of hate-speech themselves escape punishment.

  • OPINION

    Blockchain test could change Russia

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 08/06/2017

    » Russian President Vladimir Putin and his economic team have long been under the impression that, to wean the country off its oil dependence, they needed a major leap in some specific area of technology that wasn't yet dominated by Western, Chinese or Japanese tech giants. Their latest hopes are being pegged to the Ethereum blockchain platform.

  • OPINION

    Coup against Mugabe is really nothing to celebrate

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 17/11/2017

    » As leader of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has survived longer than Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao in China. If it's coming to an end -- which seems likely given his apparent inability to emerge from house arrest after the military took charge -- it's worth reflecting on the mistakes he made to end such a remarkable run.

  • OPINION

    The year of the woeful world leaders

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 28/12/2018

    » The dictionaries have decided on their 2018 words of the year. Oxford picked "toxic". Merriam-Webster went for "justice". Collins chose "single-use". However, I'd zero in on "misgovernment". Surely, 2018 saw a number of countries misruled by the worst crop of world leaders in recent memory.

  • OPINION

    Modern world leaders are just walking cliches

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 30/07/2019

    » One of the most striking things about Boris Johnson, who became UK prime minister, is how precisely he fits the stereotype of the eccentric upper-class Brit. With his elevation, Britain joins several major nations led by people who embody their national stereotypes and not the best of them at that. However, it could be argued that it's leaders defying such cliches who take their countries forward.

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