After Moscow was picked to host the 1980 Summer Olympics, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev considered backing out as he fretted over the costs and political risks. Not so Vladimir Putin, who’s dreamed of bringing the games back to Russia for two decades and has staked his legacy on success.
When Igor Sechin was working as President Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff a decade ago, visitors to his Kremlin office noticed an unusual collection on the bookshelves: row after row of bound volumes containing minutes of Communist Party congresses.
Granting freedom to a man who was wrongly imprisoned is always progress. But Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement today that he plans to pardon former oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky merely confirms the arbitrary nature of the Russian justice system.
On a frosty Moscow evening in December, Alisher Usmanov is wearing a boyish grin. Russia’s richest man, who rarely smiles in public, has been elected to a second term as president of the International Fencing Federation, which is holding its annual congress in the Russian capital for the first time.
Vladimir Putin wasn’t having a great day. The Russian president had spent the August morning in a helicopter over Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border, surveying flood damage that had left tens of thousands of people homeless.
Vladimir Putin was lonely and homesick after moving to Moscow to work in the Kremlin in 1996 and planned to return to St. Petersburg within a year, according to a friend, documentary filmmaker Igor Shadkhan.