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Putin's Russia is a trap China should avoid

Strongman leaders get a lot worse after a decade in power

| China
Diplomatic isolation has forced Putin into China's arms.   © AP

Minxin Pei is professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and a nonresident senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The Chinese Communist Party prides itself on learning lessons from the fall of other dictatorships. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chinese leaders commissioned academic studies and held seminars trying to figure out how the once-mighty Soviet regime crumbled like a house of cards.

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