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.
Russian protesters angry at what they say are rigged elections and the authoritarian ways of Vladimir Putin, flooded Moscow today demanding change.
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.
Alexei Navalny, a vocal critic of Putin and leader in Russia's protest movement, could pose a tough threat to his presidential bid.
In 4.5-hour live TV show, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he thought protest ribbons were condoms. Putin also suggested Moscow street protesters were paid to be there.
Vladimir Putin projected his usual magisterial image in the appearance, ruling out any recount of the recent election and warning that foreign powers are behind the protesters seeking reform.
Boris Gryzlov, an ally of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, will not take his seat in the lower house of the State Duma that he was elected to last week.
At least 30,000 Muscovites protested Putin's grip on government this weekend. Monday, a new challenger, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, jumped into Russia's presidential race.
Vladimir Putin has stunned many with his statement that US Secretary of State Clinton is behind the protests in Russia over alleged vote rigging.