Russian history is replete with zig-zags between reform and reaction, ottepel’ (thaw) and moroz (freezing), turns to and from the East and West. The year 2012 marked another zig-zag as Putin returned to the presidency, replacing Medvedev. Medvedev’s presidency saw a “thaw” in Russian politics and improved relations with the West. Putin’s return has largely frozen the thaw and stalled the reset; he has refocused Russian foreign policy to the Asia-Pacific.

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