A woman holds a sign and a flag in support of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny during a rally in Moscow, September 9, 2013. The flag reads "Change Russia. Start from Moscow." The sign (upside down) reads "Navalny."
Maxim Shemetov / Courtesy Reuters

You could say that Sergei Sobyanin, the acting mayor of Moscow, was both the winner and the loser of Sunday’s mayoral election in Moscow. He was pronounced victorious with 51 percent of the vote, insuring himself control for the next five years of Russia’s capital, its nearly 12 million citizens, and its $52 billion annual budget. For these reasons, plus the job’s outsized influence and profile, it is considered the most powerful elected office in the country after the presidency itself.

Yet Sobyanin’s victory will leave him less than fully confident. He will enter office a wounded political figure,

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