Vladimir PutinWhile Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was in Beijing schmoozing with world leaders during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on August 8, Russian troops, tanks, and bombers were launching a surprise attack on neighboring Georgia.

Alexandre SolzhenitsynOn August 3, the world lost Nobel Prize laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the conscience of the Cold War. Convicted in 1945 of criticizing Joseph Stalin’s regime, Solzhenitsyn spent years in a Soviet prison camp, nearly succumbing to disease and other hardships. After his release, Solzhenitsyn began publishing materials describing the horrors of the Soviet prison camps, or gulags. His most famous book, The Gulag Archipelago, led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970.

Vladimir PutinWestern political leaders and media pundits expressed outrage at the friendly reception accorded Zimbabwe’s defiant dictator, Robert Mugabe, by fellow African leaders at the recent annual summit of the African Union in Egypt.

Viktor BoutFor more than a decade and a half, Viktor Bout has been fueling the most savage wars and terrorist operations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East with guns, bombs, tanks, missiles, and munitions. Notorious as the “Merchant of Death,” his scores of Russian cargo planes have ferried untold tons of armaments from Russia and Ukraine to bloody conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, and the Balkans.

"KGB influence 'soars under Putin,'" blared the headline of a BBC online article for December 13, 2006. The following day, a similar headline echoed a similarly alarming story at the website of Der Spiegel, one of Germany's largest news magazines: "Putin's Russia: Kremlin Riddled with Former KGB Agents."

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