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Putin’s Choice

BRUSSELS – Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin as Russia’s president was always a foregone conclusion. But, when he is sworn in on May 7, he will retake formal charge of a country whose politics – even Putin’s own political future – has turned unpredictable.

Putin’s return to the presidency, following a period of de facto control as prime minister, was supposed to signify a reassuring continuation of “business as usual” – a strong, orderly state devoid of the potentially destabilizing effects of multiparty democracy and bickering politicians.