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Putin Accuses West of 'Outdated Prejudices'

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes a swipe at Western critics in his State of the Nation speech Wednesday, accusing them of hanging on to outdated prejudices.

His remarks seemed to be a response to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who last week accused Russia of using its energy reserves as "tools of intimidation or blackmail."

Western analysts agree, saying Moscow is pursuing a grand strategy to ensure total control over supplies to Western and Asian markets. They say gas is Moscow's "new nuclear bomb" - and that the Kremlin sees Washington's attempts to break its grip on pipeline routes as a pretext for a new Cold War.

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Gregory Feifer
Gregory Feifer reports for NPR from Moscow, covering Russia's resurgence under President Vladimir Putin and the country's transition to the post-Putin era. He files from other former Soviet republics and across Russia, where he's observed the effects of the country's vast new oil wealth on an increasingly nationalistic society as well as Moscow's rekindling of a new Cold War-style opposition to the West.