The editors of the Washington Post congratulated Vladimir Putin today “on his exciting, come-from-behind victory to become Russia’s next president,” won after a brilliant and moving electoral campaign. “Oh, no, wait. That’s not how things work in Russia today. Actually, the story is simpler: Vladimir Putin decided that he would like to be president again, and so he will be." In his years in power, “Putin has closed every avenue through which people might peacefully and legally select or even affect their government."
The move may be good news for “hapless incumbent” Dmitry Medvedev, but it’s bad for Russia’s people—who appear indefinitely stuck with “corruption and stagnation”—and for US-Russian relations. President Obama had a close relationship with Medvedev, the Wall Street Journal observes, and as one freedom advocate points out, “Putin is not held in high regard in the US Congress." That could make the administration’s push to lift some Cold War-era sanctions a tough sell. (Read more Dmitry Medvedev stories.)