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In publishing on Russia, there often comes a time when a writer, journalist, bank analyst, television presenter, or academic produces something so lacking in truthfulness, or so replete with fawning and meretriciousness, that this website must kill and skin another goat; dry out the vellum; and have the scribe turn out a fresh certification of the

The PAW has a long and respectable history. Jean de la Fontaine first told the tale of Bertrand the monkey who persuaded Ratto, his cat friend, to burn his paw pulling chestnuts out of the fire for Bertrand to eat. There’s been argument since the tale was written more than 300 years ago over how willing, and greedy, the cat was to fall for the monkey’s scheme. But La Fontaine’s own moral of the tale leaves no doubt that the cat’s paw is a willing grovel before power:

No more are the princes, by flattery paid
For furnishing help in a different trade,
And burning their fingers to bring
More power to some mightier king

Fresh nominations for the Cat’s PAW are invited to be published here, each with its special citation.

Each candidate will be advised of his nomination before publication, and given the opportunity to clarify meaning, and plead truth or justification.

April 18-19, 2009
Ben Fenton of the Financial Times, London

May 8 – July 3, 2009
Adam Waldman of The Endeavor Group, Washington, DC

July 14, 2009
Tim Whehell and BBC Newsnight

March 30, 2010
Stephanie Baker and Yuriy Humber of Bloomberg

February 10, 2012
Catherine Belton of the Financial Times, London

July 26, 2012
Charles Clover of the Financial Times, London

June 17, 2015
Courtney Weaver and Jack Farchy of the Financial Times, London