"Barring a major upset, Dmitry Medvedev will succeed Putin as President next week. Over the past eight years, Putin's government has steadily dismantled Russia's democratic structures, destroying any real opposition.
During the chaos of the Yeltsin years, Western imposed reforms nearly bankrupt the country. In contrast, Putin's centralist policies have; "moved Russia from anarchy to normal life", explains friend Sergei Markov. There's a genuine belief here that the West wants to keep Russia weak and one of its tools for doing so is demanding democracy. Liberal critics like Gary Kasparov are denounced as Western stooges. "We consider people like Kasparov traitors", states Nashi member Masha Drokova. "We want Russia to be a sovereign democracy and that is only possible if Putin's policies are continued". There's little chance of that not happening. The Kremlin-controlled state media is banned from even mentioning the names of opposition candidates. Even when Putin stands down as President, he's expected to remain the real power in the Kremlin. Delegated successor, Dmitry Medvedev, has no independent power base of his own and Putin will be his Prime Minister. It seems that the only vote that really matters in the elections has already been cast." journeymanpictures
Former head of the KGB, who was assassinated in Britain last year, says Vladimir Putin ordered the assassination of journalist Anna Politkovskaya
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