Some analysts say a declaration by either President Medvedev or Prime Minister Putin could upend Russian politics well ahead of next year's presidential vote.
Saturday's brutal beating of Oleg Kashin highlights not only a withering of press freedom in Russia but also a broader effort to silence dissent ahead of 2012 elections.
Russian lawmakers are considering two bills that would give the FSB – the former KGB – sweeping powers against extremists. Critics cast it as a Soviet throwback that would enable the Kremlin to crack down on its opponents.
Officials blamed today's twin Moscow Metro bombings, which struck near the FSB security service and a major state-run media outlet, on two female suicide bombers from the N. Caucasus.
An Islamist insurgency is now spreading beyond Chechyna to the entire patchwork of republics known as the north Caucasus.
The country is under the harsh, one-man rule of Ramzan Kadyrov, who wears a track suit, keeps a pet tiger, and urges men to take second wives.