Nobody expected anything special from Vladimir Putin's ordinary address to the Federal Assembly. The Russian President, however, decided to surprise everyone by announcing a series of amendments to the Russian Constitution. Shortly after the speech, the Russian government – headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – resigned.
On December 19, Vladimir Putin held his final annual press conference, and much of the focus was on Ukraine. The Kremlin leader answered numerous questions about geopolitics, sanctions, nuclear war, and other issues.
Russia's local elections illustrated that there is increasing discontent with Putin's regime. While there are all prerequisites for the new political power to rise, the Kremlin violently controls any manifestation of dissent.