Russia's seamless presidential succession produced no major changes in domestic politics or foreign policy. Ties with Asia remained strong, though several key relationships——with China, Japan, and the Central Asian states——frayed under the impact of Russia's military action in Georgia. Impressive economic performance in the first half of the year boosted Russian confidence as a great power, but its vulnerability to the global financial crisis together with the heavy-handed operation in the Caucasus undermined Moscow's standing with both Asia and Europe by the end of the year.

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