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Autocrats share at least one trait – lying, compulsively

The two most prominent liars of this century are surely veteran autocrat Mr. Putin and burgeoning autocrat Mr. Trump.

Trump’s “Big Lie” states he actually won the 2020 election. For Putin, it’s a three-pronged lie: Ukraine belongs to mother Russia, Nazis in Kiev are out of control and Ukraine, through NATO, is a threat for Russia.

The two bask in their own mutual admiration. Trump still reminds us that Putin, before the 2016 elections, once called him a “genius” who was “going to be the leader of the world or something”. For his part, Trump labelled Putin a “genius” for the way he invaded Ukraine.

Trump clearly emulates Putin and has a thing for foreign despots, their tough talk and unrestrained action. “I’ve always felt fine about Putin. He’s a strong leader. He’s a powerful leader,” Trump remarked many months after Russia’s Ukraine invasion.

This mutual respect is augmented but a sameness in leadership styles. Trump’s call for the revival of national glory in ‘MAGA’ is echoed in Putin’s ‘MRGA’ (Make Russia Great Again). Trump’s cruel attacks on opponents or former supporters is mirrored in Putin’s retaliation on all who have betrayed h...

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