Many western politicians have harbored deep suspicions of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Vladimorovich Putin since he first emerged on the Russian political stage in 1999.

This is hardly surprising, given his KGB background, though those with longer historical memories will recall that Yuri Andropov came from the same organization and that the West grudgingly found a way to work with him.

While the worst aspects of the Cold War faded away with the peaceful collapse of the