On Putin's path to victory:
I was in a meeting of Putin supporters. I spoke to participants, and they said that Putin is without a doubt the best leader for Russia because he made the country’s economy much better after the chaos of the 1990s. I found that many people are satisfied with the president’s long-term steadiness. But on the other hand, it is also true that there are people, especially among the younger generations, who are getting tired of this long administration that looks like it might last a quarter of a century.
I was at a memorial march for an opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, held last month, three years after his death. Many of the attendees were young people around the age of 20. They were calling for the truth – about who is behind the murder, and calling for real transparency in Putin’s power.
On annexation of Crimea:
I think such voices can become a threat to the government in the near future.
I talked with university students in Moscow. They can't say exactly what was Putin's achievement, but only the annexation of Crimea. The government is believed to have intentionally set Election Day on March 18th which is the 4th anniversary of that date. I think Putin's strategy is to try to win a sweeping victory by raising people's patriotism. It is still uncertain whether this trick would work on the young Russians. This will be a touchstone of the coming 6 years of Putin's Russia.