A rather consistent picture of Russian domestic politics and foreign policy in Putin's second presidential term emerges from the four works discussed. Elements of authoritarian rule, welcome or at least acceptable to large segments of a public weary of the political and economic disorder of Yeltsin's time, combine with Russia's growing energy-driven economic strength to provide a stable environment, and broad support for the regime. These strengths are expressed externally in a more assertive foreign policy, whose manifestations in both trade and security areas pose challenges for the US, and its EU and NATO allies.

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