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The Boston Globe

World

Putin defends self, hits US

MOSCOW — For a man with a bad back, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat up straight for more than four hours Thursday in his annual marathon news conference, brushing off claims that he is an authoritarian leader and lashing out at the United States.

The annual news conferences have become a grueling and elaborate piece of theater, a show both of Putin’s vigor and of his domination of Russian politics.

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