Russia’s Cossacks evoke extreme opinions among observers: some see them as a marginal social phenomenon, a kind of political folklore; others as a morally and physically healthy part of the nation, a pillar of the modern paramilitary formations which defend the national and cultural borders of the Russian Federation.
The annexation of Crimea and Russia’s military action in the Donbas in 2014 have revealed a major potential for a revival of nationalist sentiments in Russian society.
On 6 December Vladimir Putin announced that he will run in the presidential election to be held on 18 March 2018.
2017 has seen a wave of dismissals of the heads of Russia’s regions – the largest in the past five years. This is linked primarily to the preparations for the presidential election.
On 15 December, the district court in Moscow found Alexey Ulyukaev, the former Russian minister for economic development, guilty of accepting a bribe of US$2 million.
Vladimir Putin visited Cairo on 11 December. The main effect of the visit was the signing of four contracts linked to the construction of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant.
Much seems to indicate that the Ulyukaev case is an element of the rivalry of opposing groups of interest inside the Russian ruling elite.
On 28 November, President Vladimir Putin announced the implementation of a programme for assistance to families.
Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian senator (representing Dagestan) and billionaire, was arrested on 20 November at Nice airport.
On 22 November the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Hasan Rouhani, met in Sochi.