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.
Sochi Olympics reignite memories of Soviet successes that brought prestige. Can the 2014 Olympic hosts do well at this year's medal table?
The Russia protests on Tuesday tell Putin that the popular hopes for democracy are alive and kicking. His subtle suppression of dissent only hurts Russia's opportunity to modernize its economy.
Russia should be on the agenda for NATO summit in Chicago this weekend. In spite of recent tensions, the historically fractured relationship between Russia and NATO is the most ripe for transformation. Obstacles like missile defense and Eastern Europe can be resolved.
As the second presidential inauguration of Vladimir Putin approaches, a former correspondent who once worked for him looks at the world view of the Russian iron man. His theory: The president is feeling dissed by the West and believes it conspires to "destroy" Russia.