Some media speculated he would reshuffle the government. Some reported that he would use the speech to unveil a rebranded "Putin the Wise Patriarch." Other Kremlin-watchers thought the address would signal a pivot to more liberal policies.
But what everybody got instead was boilerplate.
In the latest edition of the Power Vertical podcast, I discussed Putin's big speech and why it fell flat with co-hosts Kirill Kobrin of RFE/RL's Russian Service and NYU Professor Mark Galeotti, author of the blog "In Moscow's Shadows." Why did Putin pass up an opportunity to take the political initiative?
Also on the podcast, we discuss a recent gaffe by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was caught by a live microphone insulting agents of the Investigative Committee.
Listen to or download the podcast above, or subscribe to "The Power Vertical Podcast" on iTunes.