ON MY MIND
So now Vladimir Putin has a choice to make.
He can either make it clear that he intends to remain in power, one way or another, for the foreseeable future. Or he can effectively turn into a lame duck.
In the former case, he risks stagnation and ossification similar to the decay that plagued the Soviet elite toward the end of Leonid Brezhnev's rule.
But in the latter, he risks setting off a potential succession struggle and clan warfare as the elite begins jockeying for position in a post-Putin Russia.
The results of yesterday's so-called election may have been preordained.
But what happens next is very much up in the air.
IN THE NEWS
Vladimir Putin has won six more years in office, with near-final results handing him a landslide victory amid reports of thousands of violations and widespread pressure on citizens to vote.
Putin has said that he has no plans to change the country's constitution for the time being, and suggested he would not seek the presidency again in 2030.
Putin also rejected British allegations that Moscow was behind the recent nerve-agent poisoning of a Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in England.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has accused Russia of stockpiling a nerve agent believed to have been used in an attack on Skripal and his daughter in Britain.
The Russian scientist who originally helped develop the nerve agent believed to have been used in the poisoning of Skripal said other countries could have also produced test samples of the substance.
Russia has sold $4 billion in debt on the Eurobond market in London despite rapidly escalating tensions with Britain and the West.
The AFP news agency is reporting that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's planned visit to Vietnam has been called off for "unexpected reasons."
Russian voters in Ukraine were blocked from casting their ballots in Russia's presidential election on March 18, as Ukrainian authorities stepped up security outside diplomatic facilitates and nationalists staged anti-Moscow protests.
Supporters of opposition politician Mikheil Saakashvili demonstrated in Kyiv on March 18 to demand the resignation of President Petro Poroshenko.
NEW FROM THE POWER VERTICAL BLOG
How was Putin's reelection similar to the 26th Soviet Communist Party Congress in 1981? Read the latest Power Vertical blog post -- Putin's Brezhnev Moment -- to find out.
LATEST POWER VERTICAL BRIEFING
So it turns out that Vladimir Putin won in a landslide. Well who could have predicted that!? On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, we discuss the results and the optics.
WHAT I'M READING
In his column for Republic.ru, opposition journalist and political commentator Oleg Kashin writes that if Putin is now everything, then that means that Putin is nothing.
Meduza spoke to the experts about what we can expect in Putin's fourth term.
The Polling Station At The End Of The Universe
Republic.ru has a compelling photo essay, The Election At The End Of The World, showing voters casting their ballots in Yakutia in the Russian Far East
Andrew Wood has a report for Chatham House: Putin And Russia In 2018–24: What Next?
Russia's War On History
Vladislav Inozemtsev has a piece in Snob.ru looking at Russia's war on history.
Yale University historian Timothy Snyder has an essay in The New York Review of Books on Ivan Ilyin, whom he calls "Putin's philosopher of fascism."
Tillerson, Pompeo, And Russia
In an op-ed for The Moscow Times, Moscow-based foreign affairs analyst Vladimir Frolov explains how the dismissal of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is being received in Russia.
The Rule Breaker
In his column for Bloomberg, political commentator Leonid Bershidsky writes that "The next six years will show whether Russia can get away with not following any rules."