But the wild ride that began with the announcement at the United Russia congress in September that Putin would return to the Kremlin has left behind a dramatically changed country in its wake.
The decision was not universally welcomed by the Russian elite, which now finds itself deeply divided over fundamental questions, like how the country should be governed.
Adding to the general zeitgeist of change, the previously apolitical urban professional and creative classes have gotten into the act, demanding political reform.
The countdown to Putin 2.0 is under way.
In this week's edition of The Power Vertical Podcast, I sit down with my regular co-host Kirill Kobrin to discuss how Russia’s paramount leader will govern under these changed circumstances.
Also on the podcast, we discuss outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev's legacy.
Listen to or download the podcast below, or subscribe to The Power Vertical Podcast on iTunes.