khrushcheva126_BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIAFP via Getty Images_putintrump Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Trump and Putin by the Book

Although life is complicated under the authoritarian misrule of US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the same cannot be said of either man's character. Both figures were long prefigured in classic works of political satire in both countries.

MOSCOW – We are increasingly ruled not by people but by characters. Donald Trump’s reality-show presidency or Vladimir Putin’s cartoon authoritarianism recalls Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film, The Great Dictator. Yet in both Russia and the United States – polar opposites that have become near-mirror images – the Chaplinesque dictators’ divisive, populist messages could be considered anything but comical.