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Putin snubbed the Western Allies in a speech marking the anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II, and a devastating school shooting hit the heart of Russia. Questions persist about Moscow's COVID numbers -- and its vaccine claims, too -- while rising prices are giving the government a headache it could be hard to relieve.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is often accused of rewriting the past, and he seems meticulous about trying to shape the future, at least when it comes to his political prospects. Over his more than two decades in power, controlling the present has proved a bigger challenge.
This phenomenon was on stark display this week, from a May 9 military-parade speech in which Putin presented the Kremlin's narrative of World War II -- with the Western Allies pointedly left out -- to the horrific school shooting that killed nine people in the Tatarstan region two days later.
Putin has always used his annual address before the Victory Day parade on Red Square to emphasize the Soviet Union's huge and hugely costly contribution to the Allied victory over Nazi Germany, and often also to hint darkly that the United States poses a threat to the sovereignty of nations worldwide today.
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