Charles is a reporter and producer based in Moscow.
As Russia hosts the 2018 World Cup, it's being condemned for many of the same human rights abuses it was criticized for in the lead-up to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Now, President Vladimir Putin seems much more resistant to Western criticism.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was sworn in to a fourth term in office on Monday, extending his 18-year rule amid promises of continuity in foreign policy and renewed efforts toward building prosperity at home.
The Russian government is moving to block the messaging app after the company refused to comply with a court order demanding access to user data. But so far, the ban hasn’t gone as smoothly as Russian authorities had hoped.
The election was never about whether Putin would win. But high voter turnout has been marred by reports of ballot stuffing and other unethical means of getting support for the incumbent president.
Vladimir Putin will win his fourth term after 18 years in power. But behind the scenes of an election with a foregone conclusion — an event that should be drama-free — a more complicated picture emerges.