Putin backs Medvedev as successor
Ladies and gentlemen, Putin is not going to be an autocratic dictator! He will be succeeded (in Russian fashion), by a likeminded protege.
I feel it's really important to be watching the development into, the results of, and the ensuing months following this particular election. Medvedev is a shoe-in for the canidacy, and as he's the leader of Gazprom (the Russian oil conglomerate), Russian interest in oil procurement is going to literally explode. I feel this will have far-reaching effects in the former Soviet republics surrounding the Caspian (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and eastern Ukraine).... and as Gazprom has already gone ahead with encroaching on a few of these states' oil rights (millions of US dollar's worth of oil has been routed from Ukraine via Georgia alone), it'll be interesting to see what will happen in this area once Medvedev is elected- because it's most likely to happen.