In his state of the union speech Thursday, Putin said he would wean Russia from its oil dependency, revive its flagging economic dynamism, and restore its global reputation. But his window may be closing.
There is little optimism in Russia that there could be a serious reconciliation between Washington and Moscow, even if Donald Trump is in the White House. But if it happened, this is what Russian analysts say it would have to entail.
While Russian and Syrian forces are set for a major offensive on Aleppo after the end of today's cease-fire, the potential military success is overshadowed by the Kremlin's inability to return to superpower-style dealing with the US.
Pinning down specific Russian responsibility for hacking incidents is complicated by Russia's cybersecurity model. Most of the IT expertise lies in the private sector, and the Kremlin itself is surprisingly not tech-savvy.
In their overwhelming attacks on eastern Aleppo, which spurred the US to suspend talks with Moscow, Russia and Syria are seeking a favorable political outcome through time-tested – if brutal – military means.
Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church have increasingly invoked Czar Nicholas II, murdered in 1918, as part of a broader strategy to claim political legitimacy. But that epoch may hold warnings for Putin.
Autocratic President Islam Karimov has ruled Uzbekistan for more than two decades. But public reports he has suffered a debilitating illness raise the possibility of a succession battle, complicated by Uzbekistan's own Islamist insurgency.
Tatarstan has had a problem with Islamic extremism. But the Russian republic has avoided the violence that consumed Chechnya, by both resisting Wahabbism and promoting its own native Muslim traditions.
The sudden retirement of Sergei Ivanov, a longtime ally of Putin's, is just one of many recent changes in Russia's government, which seem to be aimed at bringing in younger Putin loyalists with new ideas.