Much has happened since, from Putin's reelection to the Pussy Riot trial to the legislative crackdown on dissent to the current campaign against corruption.
And as a turbulent 2012 draws to a close, it's clear that Russia is in the midst of an important transformation. What isn't yet clear: a transformation to what?
The new edition of "The Power Vertical Podcast" takes a look back at the past year and ahead to what we may expect in 2013, with co-hosts Mark Galeotti of New York University and Sean Guillory of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies.
Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.