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Putin will overwhelmingly win re-election as president on March 18, again.Expected to win as much as 80 percent of the vote, Putin will further cement his authority over Russia, a czarlike figure with a democratic veneer.Russia will remain disproportionately dependent on oil prices and its 144 million people will stay poorer than they should be.Russia was still emerging from a tumultuous post-Soviet hangover.Eighteen years later, Putin's friends run the economy and Russia's military is resurgent.A newly elected Putin is likely to continue the Cold War-like relationship with Trump's United States.Russia sees the investigation into alleged meddling in the U.S. election as concocted – but also as a sign that Russia is important again, and that Americans are obsessed with weakening Russia at all costs.Russia's annexation of Crimea prompted U.S. and European Union sanctions, sending Putin's popularity skyrocketing.Putin has barely bothered with campaigning.
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