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.
Alexei Navalny, a vocal critic of Putin and leader in Russia's protest movement, could pose a tough threat to his presidential bid.
Former President Vladimir Putin, who announced yesterday that he will run again next year, is likely to win. But falling oil prices may create social discontent – and push him to make political reforms.