In less than 100 days since he returned to the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin has further curbed Russian civil liberties and dissenters. But this is risky. As political dialogue no longer becomes an option, radicals on both sides are emboldened and the threshold for violence is lowered.
Like too many Russian leaders, Vladimir Putin's long shadow makes it hard to see the real owners of Russia -- its people.
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.
Russia's President-elect Vladimir Putin may have won the presidential election, but he lost Moscow. And he faces an engaged, active generation that did not grow up as Soviets. Political legitimacy is more than an official election result; it requires trust.
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.