President Vladimir Putin's first state-of-the-nation address following his latest return to the Kremlin answered all my questions. I was waiting to hear his strategy for what is ostensibly his third — but effectively his fourth — term as president. And that is exactly what I heard Wednesday.
As I expected, Putin's speech turned out to be a manifesto for preserving the status quo. Putin intends to do everything possible to maintain his peculiar brand of authoritarianism run by his team of chekists and St. Petersburg cronies.