Obama's open mic incident happened on Monday when he told the Russian president that he would have 'more flexibility' in missile defense negotiations after the 2012 elections.
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.
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.