Here is one way of looking at the coming presidential elections in Russia .....
(English subtitles visible only when watching on YouTube)
Vladimir Kara-Murza tells the sad truth about Putin´s Russia in an article in the Wall Street Journal:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recent statements about freedom and political competition have led many Western observers to hope for a new wave of democratic reforms in Russia. The Justice Ministry's denial of the Popular Freedom Party's registration papers last week shows that these statements are a fraud.
Mr. Medvedev's eloquent, pro-democracy statements are meant primarily for Western audiences. The reality of today's Russia is that it remains a closed authoritarian system with a highly centralized executive, a tightly controlled media, a rubber-stamp parliament and a politically guided judiciary. With relatively high public support in the early years of Mr. Putin's rule, this inflexible system was able to survive.
But with recent polls indicating that 50% of Russians disapprove of the current government, and 49% are ready to take part personally in street protests, the inability to change the ruling elites at the ballot box may have unpredictable consequences. Earlier this year, a group of prominent cultural figures, including writer Vladimir Voinovich and film director Edlar Ryazanov, signed an open letter warning the Russian authorities that "the attempt to conserve the current non-constitutional order can lead to serious socio-political upheavals in the nearest future."
It is surprising to note how often western journalists still cling to the idea that Dmitry Medvedev would be challenging Putin in some way. Or perhaps it is not suprising at all - we all know that there have always been a great number of "useful idiots" in the West, when it comes to Russia/the Soviet Union.