Russia votes on March 18 in a presidential election that is, let’s agree, lacking in any competitive tension. In fact, says Stephen Kotkin, Vladimir Putin’s re-election is “preordained, a superfluous, if vivid, additional signal of Russia’s debilitating stagnation.”
Few Americans understand Russia better than Mr. Kotkin, who late last year published “ Stalin : Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941,” the second of an intended three-volume biography of the Soviet dictator Mr. Kotkin describes as “the person in world history who accumulated more power than anyone else.”
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