You are using Internet Explorer 8 to view this site. IE8 is a 6-year-old browser that does not display modern web sites properly. Please upgrade to a newer browser to make best use of this site. Contact your local library branch if you require assistance. For more information, see this FAQ page.
Russia under Vladimir Putin has proved a prickly partner for the West, a far cry from the democratic ally many hoped for when the Soviet Union collapsed. Abroad, Putin has used Russia's energy strength as a foreign policy weapon, while at home he has cracked down on opponents, adamant that only he has the right vision for his country's future.