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If you believe the message from the Kremlin, Russia currently has no plans to send police or military forces into neighboring Belarus. But it has sent in some reinforcements — to the news media, as part of a strategy that should stand as a warning to democracies around the world.

Of course, President Vladimir Putin mused just over a week ago, Russia may eventually need to intervene in Belarus militarily. But as his spokesman put it last week: "At present we see that the situation is under control.”

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