The idea that the Russian government is a mystery-let alone a Churchill-evoking riddle or enigma-is absurd. The real issue has been the willful, even enthusiastic, blindness of political leaders and commentators regarding the true nature of Putin’s regime which-with its insistence on strict hierarchy, unquestioning clan loyalty, and a stern code of secrecy-is essentially a mafia. It is a mistake to believe that the members of the Putin regime have a long-term plan or a guiding ideology. Their only priority is holding tight to power and the immense personal fortunes that power protects. The leaders of the Free World must recognize that acknowledging the reality of a dictatorship is a critical step in combating it.