It’s been a banner year for authoritarian leaders. Especially Vladimir Putin

Moscow (CNN)In the global battle of ideas, Russian President Vladimir Putin has had a banner year. For much of the summer, the Russian capital of Moscow saw a wave of opposition demonstrations. For a time, unsanctioned rallies and solo protests seemed to gain momentum. Russian authorities even dropped criminal charges against a prominent investigative reporter after an unexpected public outpouring of support. But a crackdown on the opposition then followed, with the detention of leading opposition figures and sweeping arrests of more than 2,000 demonstrators. The Russian government, it seemed,…

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