With Russia’s March 4 presidential election now rushing towards us supporters of Vladimir Putin took to the streets in their thousands in Moscow.
Braving the cold, the show of strength was in part to counter the opposition’s protests against Putin’s authority.
These have gained in strength since December’s allegedly crooked parliamentary polls, although Putin is still polling around the 50% needed to avoid a second round.
If he wins he is on course to rule Russia for a second 12-year period. In the first he was credited with righting the ship of state.
But some fear a second. Reforms have failed to materialise, and Russia may have changed too much for a mere ‘Putin 2’.