1. This is a one-man re-coronation.
Although there are eight registered candidates, it is best to see the presidential elections in Russia as a referendum exercise to reaffirm the legitimacy of Vladimir Putin. It is certain that he will win a fourth six-year term in office — de facto fifth if we include the four-year sleight of hand with Dmitry Medvedev. This means that he will be in charge of the country until at least 2024. Formally running as an independent candidate, Putin is not participating in the candidate debates, presumably because he does not see himself as a candidate.