Mark Galeotti Mark Galeotti

Putin’s festive message: the world’s naughty, but I’m nice

Russian president Vladimir Putin addresses his annual press conference (Getty images)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. When a reclusive figure comes bearing gifts, when the air is full of familiar golden oldies, and when time itself seems to stand still. I am talking, of course, of Vladimir Putin’s annual marathon press conference this week.

Stretching for hours – four-and-a-half in this case – these carefully choreographed events have in the past been opportunities for Putin to present himself in a variety of roles: the omnicompetent chief executive; the caring father of the nation; the stern defender of the Motherland.

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