NY Times reports that Mr. Putin, who grew up in a hardscrabble Soviet housing block, has spent more than a decade in a byzantine world of petitioners and servants. Now, in the year he turns 60, he will face his biggest challenge: coming to grips with a society that has greatly changed under his watch, while he has remained essentially the same.
The Russia Forum, held in Moscow each February, brings together politicians and business leaders to discuss investing in this vast resource-rich country.
Russian stocks and the rouble held above their two-week lows, but analysts said that, at least until Dec. 24, investors would be better off staying away from Russia.
When Vladimir Putin took time out from shirtless photo opportunities to announce that he was seeking the Russian presidency again in 2012 at the weekend, the subsequent drop in the rouble must have been rather unflattering.
As the St Petersburg International Economic Forum wrapped up over the weekend, the business leaders and investors who flew into Russia to see President Medvedev outline his vision for attracting foreign investment into the resource-rich former super power were hopeful that reform is finally on the way, but sceptical that the Russian leadership will finally deliver on its promises to create a more business friendly environment.
At the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), one of the main topics on the agenda is how Russia transforms the wealth gained from its substantial natural resources into a more rounded economy.
Russia is ready to develop substantial business interests beyond the oil and natural gas driven wealth that has been generated since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the head of investment bank UBS in the region told CNBC.