Prospects for Russian politics to end-2017.
President Vladimir Putin is likely to announce in late summer that he will run for re-election in March 2018. Regional elections in September will provide indications of strategies for boosting turnout in the presidential contest. Electoral activity amid ongoing economic problems creates scope for popular protest, which the authorities can contain, and for competition in governing circles that will become more visible in Putin's next term. Hopes that US and EU sanctions may ease or end have all but disappeared.