The Tampa Tribune reports: Displaying the killer instincts of a chess grandmaster, Vladimir Putin rang out 2013 with an exceptional list of accomplishments.
The Russian president humiliated the United States by sheltering NSA leaker Edward Snowden, brokered a Syrian chemical weapons deal that averted a seemingly inevitable U.S. military strike and outmaneuvered the 28-nation European Union in the wrestling match for influence over Ukraine, says The Tampa Tribune.
Putin also surprised both his own people and the world by pardoning his old foe, former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, adds Tampa Tribune, and allowing an amnesty that got two Pussy Riot punk band members and over two dozen Greenpeace anti-oil drilling activists out of prison.
"It's Putin's moment. He should feel quite happy," said Gleb Pavlovsky, a political strategist and onetime adviser to the Kremlin, notes Tampa Tribune.