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Russian reasons

There is a new optimism about Russia. Douglas Hurd, who here recalls his meetings with Gorbachev and Yeltsin, says it is justified. Even the prospect of a populist president should not alarm the west

The past few months have seen a marked increase in confidence in the west about Russia. This is true among politicians on both sides of the Atlantic; but they are naturally optimistic, otherwise they would not enter that profession. Diplomats, who have a cooler temperament but are still paid to be positive, have also registered this up-turn. So have investors; and even among the more serious journalists there has been a marked rise in expectations.

Two factors have contributed to this development. One is the improved health of the Russian president. Not many of us expected a few months ago…

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