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.
The frequent arrests of one veteran anti-Kremlin activist, Sergei Udaltsov, have gained him a broader base of support among Russia's opposition than he could previously claim.
On Dec. 24, tens of thousands of Russians plan to protest again over election fraud and other official corruption. The event will bookend a remarkable year of efforts, from China to India to Brazil, to rein in graft in high places.
Under pressure after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party won only a slim majority in parliament on Sunday and the opposition staged its biggest protest in Moscow for years, Putin responded by promising changes.
Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party lost seats in Sunday's parliamentary election. As Russian discontent grows, can Putin regain lost ground in his presidential election bid?