A fresh face appears to surge in the polls. A Kremlin official receives a rare reprimand. Nominally liberal opposition candidates take some controversial stands.
On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we take a look at some of the recent developments in Russia's tightly choreographed presidential election and discuss what they portend about the Kremlin's strategy as the campaign kicks off in earnest.
Also on the briefing, we look at how the Winter Olympics are being viewed in Russia in light of the doping bans.
Joining me is RFE/RL's News Editor Steve Gutterman.
NOTE: The Power Vertical Briefing is a short look ahead to the stories expected to make news in Russia in the coming week. It is hosted by Brian Whitmore, author of The Power Vertical blog, and appears on Mondays.