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Example with a context (How Putin could lose power):

However, the very fact that the West and those Russians in the know were alarmed, and that even the Kremlin apparatus seemed clumsy and unsure of what to do, stress the degree to which if anything happens to Putin the regime will be in trouble — and we do not know what would follow.

What is the subject of this sentence? To me, it looks like the very fact should be the subject. Thus, we need a singular verb to go along with it. But, as you can see, that's not the case at all. The verb is stress and it is a plural verb. On the other hand, that entire monstrosity in bold might very well be the subject, although, to me, that doesn't really sound like it can be one—it'd grammatically inconsistent to think of it as the subject. Hmm, am I missing something here? What do you think is going on?

  • Please remember that punctuation is extremely important to grammar and you should always be careful to be sure the punctuation matches the actual sample (it was missing two commas). Copy and Paste for best results. – Catija Apr 22 '15 at 4:40
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    You're reading an interview or conversation; the participants' comments haven't been edited. This is a really complicated sentence, and it wouldn't be unusual for even a native speaker to make a verb-agreement mistake here. – user8399 Apr 22 '15 at 4:45
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The sentence has a compound subject, the first a noun (qualified by a that-clause), and the second a that-clause.

The very fact

...that even the Kremlin apparatus seemed...

The main verb is "stress". (This verb begins the real ugliness, IMO. Stress the degree to which if anything happens... Ugh.).

It could be rewritten without "The very fact" and then we would have two that-clauses as the compound subject:

That the West and those Russians in the know were alarmed, and that even the Kremlin apparatus seemed clumsy and unsure of what to do, stress...

That he has had no breakfast today may explain his lightheadedness.

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The subject of the matrix clause consists of two facts, although the second fact is somewhat obscured by an elision.  We can render the clause as follows:

  • The very fact that the West and those Russians in the know were alarmed, and [the fact] that even the Kremlin apparatus seemed clumsy and unsure of what to do, stress the degree to which, if anything happens to Putin, the regime will be in trouble.

Yes, the entire monstrosity in bold is, in fact, the complete subject.  This simple subject is no more than (fact, [fact]).  More naturally, we could render it as:

  • This fact and that [fact] stress the degree to which the regime will be in trouble.

The rest of the monstrosity are relative clauses that act as determiners for each fact.  In my simplification above, I merely replaced those complicated determiners with "this" and "that".  We have a compound coordinate subject which agrees with the verb form "stress", and in which the second instance of the word "fact" was left unspoken.

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