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Eli Lake

What Is Vladimir Putin Afraid Of?

Russia has more political prisoners now than it did at the height of the Cold War.

Criticism not allowed.

Criticism not allowed.

Photographer: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images


By all outward appearances, Vladimir Putin’s hold on power seems secure.

His party won the 2018 elections with 77 percent of the vote. He has consolidated his control of the Russian media. Most of his rivals have either died or been driven into exile. Now he can deploy his country’s wealthiest oligarchs to pursue the Kremlin’s agenda — just as he did after U.S. President Donald Trump won the 2016 election.