Vladimir Putin's "managed democracy" offers few opportunities for new leaders to emerge, build their own independent political base, and legitimately vie for power. That closed and controlled system is now teetering after tens of thousands of Russians marched in the streets of Russian cities in December to reject Mr. Putin's penchant for bureaucratic manipulation, media control, and vote-rigging. Fresh leaders are emerging without the Kremlin's approval and finding their voices. The following are seven to watch in coming months.
Russian officials are avoiding inflammatory language as they talk about the case of Ryan Fogle, a US diplomat suspected of being a CIA agent.
Vladislav Surkov was once one of the president's most influential and deft advisers. His forced resignation suggests the Kremlin may be pursuing blunter ways of manipulating the political landscape.