- For anyone interested in quickly bringing themselves up to speed on developments in Russia over the past 5-10 years, the current issue of The Economist has an excellent Russia briefing that should take about 15 minutes or so to read. The lead to the story: Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin are presiding over a system that can no longer change.
- The NY Times has an insightful piece about what it means to be an opposition candidate in Russia today. The article chronicles the attempt of Olga V. Safronova to run a legitimate campaign for the regional assembly in Novosibirsk. Part of what makes the story so compelling is that Safronova was running under the banner of one of Russia’s officially sanctioned opposition parties, A Just Russia.
- The BBC is reporting that a close Medvedev adviser suggests the President is keen to keep his job. Far from the last word on the question of who will run in 2012, but interesting to see nonetheless.
- And finally, what Robert Mackey in the NY Times aptly described as something that sounds like “a bizarre dream: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia joining a Funkadelic saxophonist in an ice hockey arena to sing “Blueberry Hill” to Sharon Stone, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Gerard Depardieu and Mickey Rourke.” You have to see it to believe it:
[h/t to Shanker Satyanath for the video.]