Courtesy Reuters

With last Saturday's announcement, we now know with virtual certainty that Vladimir Putin will be returning to the Kremlin in May as the next president of Russia. His groomed and subordinate sidekick, Dmitri Medvedev, will trade his position and become the next prime minister. The "tandem," as the arrangement was originally dubbed in 2008, will endure for the foreseeable future, perhaps even for more than a decade to come.

While this leadership change portends little for Russia -- indeed, once again de jure power will be reunited with de facto power -- one key area remains a question mark: relations with

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