I've been meaning to write about Putin. A newspaper turned up at the weekend: Saturday's Telegraph, with two multi-page features attacking him, built on a new book by a lesbian journalist with strong links to America. I also owe commenter candide3 a reply on the question of just how secure Putin's power base is.

So, I need to write something.  This isn't it though – for now I'm going to hide behind Peter Hitchens.

I like Vladimir Putin. I wish I did not. But I cannot help it... Mr Putin is without doubt a sinister tyrant at the head of a corrupt government. His private life and wealth are a mystery. His personality cult – bare-chested tough-guy, horseman, diver, jet pilot – is creepy and would be laughable if it were not a serious method of keeping power... Vladimir Putin, alone of all the major national leaders of our times, refuses to be pushed around by supranational bodies.

What he said.