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Example with a context:

The most popular explanation states that this word was invented by Russian peacekeepers in Serbia with the purpose of describing a NATO soldier, who was seen by them as a strange, clumsy figure with his 90 lbs. of bulletproof vest, weapons, radios, flashlights and so on.

From afar, he looked very strange to the Russian eye—like a penguin.

The Russians have had their favorite, most-hated pindoses. One of them, the constant laughingstock in the media, used to be the US Ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul. He was a huge fan of Twitter and if judged by the number of his tweets, spent more time on his gadget than actually doing his job. After more than two years of service there, upon his departure, he received only two words in Russian—via Twitter—from the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs: “Goodbye Mikhail.”

What is the perfect tense used in that sentence? Why not just say the Russians have their favorite, most-hated pindoses? I think that way it just makes much more sense. Don't you think?

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    Because in this paragraph the author is talking about past favorites - McFaul retired ten months ago. This PrPf marks a state which started in the past and continues into the present. The next paragraph begins "Today his place has been taken..." – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 30 '14 at 15:10
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    Alright, I'll bite. What's a pindose? – Jim Dec 30 '14 at 17:49
  • @Jim - a derogatory Russian term for "US person" – CowperKettle Dec 30 '14 at 17:50
  • [I've got a problem. or: I have a problem] – Lambie Jun 2 '19 at 18:59
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The Russians have had their favorite, most-hated pindoses.

The author uses the Past Perfect to reflect the fact that at different periods in time, different "pindoses" featured prominently in the Russian public opinion.

There exists a long series of US persons who Russians loved to hate. This tendency to hate some US persons continues up to the present moment, and could continue further. At each subsequent period in time, some of these US persons were "most hated". As time progressed, some of these "favorites" drifted out of public view, and others assumed their place.

If we change the tense to Present Simple, getting

The Russians have their favorite, most-hated pindoses.

The sentence would mostly refer to the set of most hated US persons that exists in the public mind at this moment. Some of these most hated persons might be historical figures from decades or centures ago, some might be figures still alive, but this sentence would put less stress on the figures that have drifted out of the public view by this moment.

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