Alexei Kudrin is seen as having good chances to succeed Dmitry Medvedev as Russian prime minister. In a SPIEGEL interview, he speaks about the need for more democracy in his country, President Putin's pragmatism and the dangers still facing the euro zone.
Relations between Germany and Russia appear to be approaching a new ice age. Berlin is more dependent on Moscow than ever before, but Merkel has little trust in newly re-elected President Vladimir Putin. She would like to strengthen the opposition.Von Ralf Neukirch und Matthias Schepp
Mass arrests of protesters over the weekend signal tough times ahead for Russia. Vladimir Putin's inauguration for his third term as president on Monday heralds the rollback of meager reforms made by his predecessor Dmitry Medvedev. Instead of expanding freedoms in the country, Putin has been vaguely refining his Potemkin democracy.Von Matthias Schepp
With Russia set to vote on Sunday, SPIEGEL continues to explore the atmosphere in the country in part two of its preelection coverage. Vladimir Putin looks set to win the presidency, but residents are growing increasingly resistant to corruption and media control.Von Walter Mayr, Christian Neef und Matthias Schepp
Vladimir Putin plans to win a third term as Russian president in Sunday's election. But he has been weakened by the anti-government protests that have broken out in recent months, and many Russians believe he lacks a vision for the country. Is Russia on the brink of radical change?Von Walter Mayr, Christian Neef und Matthias Schepp
The world is used to macho images of Vladimir Putin hunting bears, harpooning whales or fly-fishing. A German documentary filmmaker was recently granted unprecedented access to the Russian prime minister. And he found a lonely, aging and surprisingly likeable man.Von Markus Brauck und Matthias Schepp
Russia's young people are growing up with more freedom than ever. Twenty years after the end of communism, the first post-Soviet generation is transforming the country -- whether the once and future president likes it or not.Von Benjamin Bidder
Mikhail Prokhorov is one of the wealthiest men in Russia and now he wants to enter the Kremlin, planning to challenge Vladimir Putin in the 2012 presidential election. Speaking to SPIEGEL ONLINE he speaks out against Russia's political class and urges the release of oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Some see Russian presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov, one of the world's richest men, as a Kremlin puppet, even though he has supporters among the Moscow protesters and oligarchs tired of Vladimir Putin. But he is challenging Putin in the campaign by calling for more privatization and less government.Von Matthias Schepp
The disputed elections in Russia have unleashed a wave of rage and sparked the largest anti-government protests since the end of the Soviet Union, organized via the Internet. The Kremlin seems powerless to stop the online activists as Russians lose their fear. For the first time, Vladimir Putin seems vulnerable.Von Benjamin Bidder, Christian Neef und Matthias Schepp
Russian Prime Minister cum president Vladimir Putin had his wings clipped by the Sunday parliamentary elections, despite apparent efforts to manipulate the vote. He may now be forced to inject more democracy into his rule, but some German commentators say critics should be careful what they wish for.
The US and Russia intended to "reset" their relations under US President Barack Obama. Instead, however, the two countries continue to squabble over the planned missile shield, which Washington insists is to protect against attack from Iran. The debate shows signs of turning into a new arms race.Von Matthias Schepp
It may have won by a huge margin, but the results of Sunday's Duma election in Russia are still disappointing for Vladimir Putin's United Russia. The party won just under half of the vote, a massive decline compared to the 2007 election. The result reveals growing discontent with Putin among the Russian population.Von Benjamin Bidder
Ahead of Russia's parliamentary elections on Sunday, the pro-Kremlin parties are using nationalist rhetoric in a bid to exploit growing right-wing sentiment in the country. But it's a dangerous game. If the far right gets stronger, it could pose a threat to Vladimir Putin.Von Benjamin Bidder und Matthias Schepp
Dmitry Medvedev shocked Russians with his announcement that he was ceding the presidency back to Vladimir Putin. It is now clear that Medvedev was never more than a placeholder for his mentor, and his supposed plans to modernize Russia were little more than empty soundbites. Indeed, Medvedev may have damaged the country even more than Putin has.Von Christian Neef und Matthias Schepp
Mother Fotina once led a "Center for Cosmo-Energetic Medicine," and now she prays to Vladimir Putin. Her sect, in a village east of Moscow, honors Russia's once and future president as a reincarnation of St. Paul. The group represents a rising trend in Russia, but its origins are surprisingly mundane.Von Benjamin Bidder
Welcome to Putlandia, where the president and prime minister swap jobs at will, where the constitution is an empty shell and all power rests with Vladimir Putin. The deal between him and President Dmitry Medvedev is a farce. The proud Russian nation resembles a modern grand duchy.Von Benjamin Bidder
Few were surprised on Saturday when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev nominated his predecessor Vladimir Putin to become his successor as well. Fewer still were impressed. German commentators say the move does not bode well for Russia.
The Kremlin-backed United Russia party is getting ready for the final phase of campaigning ahead of December's parliamentary election. But allegations of manipulation are likely to overshadow Friday's party convention. Critics accuse Vladimir Putin of stifling democracy to ensure he and his cronies stay in power.Von Matthias Schepp