Vladimir Putin, who seems set to return to the presidency after Russian elections Sunday, looks to be tossing aside the reset in relations with the US and Europe. Were the West to continue to embrace the Kremlin, it would alienate Russians, especially reformers.
As Russia scrambles to modernize and reform in the face of an increasingly disenchanted public, some politicians are calling for Twitter accounts to bridge the divide.
After Russian elections on Sunday, expect what amounts to a fourth term for Putin. But Putin 4.0 faces a tough choice. His KGB officer instincts call for tightening the grip. But Russia's future – and thousands of protesters – demand greater freedom and reforms.
Russian officials say the nuclear submarine fire, which began yesterday, did not cause any radiation leaks.
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.
If Putin allowed a truly free vote in March elections, he would likely not win a majority and be forced into a runoff. But he would almost certainly win that second round, fair and square – and fairness is what Russian protesters demand.