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FROM THIS EPISODE

Vladimir Putin has restored authoritarian rule, but growth and stability have made him wildly popular with most Russians. This weekend's parliamentary elections are expected to increase Putin's strength, even as his presidency will soon come to an end. Will he hold on to political power? Are America's frayed relations with Russia in for further deterioration? Also, citizen Musharraf is sworn in as Pakistan's president, and fireworks as Republican presidential candidates turn on each other during their latest debate in Florida.


Photo: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office

Producers:
Carina Miller
Dan Konecky
Katie Cooper

Main Topic Russian Democracy and Putin's Power Politics 34 MIN, 25 SEC

He's seen in the West as a throwback to the days of the Soviet Union: centralized power, control of the media, stifling of political opposition. But since Vladimir Putin was elected  President, the economy has been booming and his combative behavior has persuaded Russians they're back as a world power. Putin has turned this weekend's parliamentary elections into a referendum on his two terms as President. Opposition rallies have been broken up, and leaders have been jailed.  Former chess champion Gary Kasparov was sentenced to five days for protesting the conduct of the election. With the Kremlin determined to boost the turnout, many Russians say they're being pressured to vote at work, with the implicit threat of losing their jobs if they don't support Putin's party, United Russia.  Will this weekend's parliamentary elections consolidate Putin's power, even as the Constitution requires him to step down? Will US and Russian relations continue to deteriorate, while both countries undergo political transitions?

Guests:
Andrey Kortunov, New Eurasia Foundation (@EFNetwork)
Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group
Dimitri K. Simes, President, Nixon Center
Marshall Goldman, Harvard's Davis Denter for Russian Studies

Reporter's Notebook Candidates Spar in GOP Debate 8 MIN, 30 SEC

In prior debates, the main target for Republican presidential candidates has been Hillary Clinton. Last night in Florida where all the questions came from voters via the Internet website YouTube, they turned on each other. One questioner accused Rudy Giuliani of making New York a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants during his term as mayor. Mitt Romney agreed, and the exchange got heated. Mark Halperin, author of The Undecided Voter’s Guide to the Next President, is senior political analyst and editor-at-large for Time magazine.

Guests:
Mark Halperin, Time magazine (@markhalperin)

Making News Citizen Musharraf Sworn in as Pakistan's President 5 MIN, 59 SEC

Pervez Musharraf was sworn in today for his third term as Pakistan's President, but his first as a civilian. In a televised speech, he said he'll end the state of emergency by December 16 and declared that parliamentary elections will be held in January, whether two former prime ministers boycott them or not. Zahid Hussain, author of Frontline Pakistan: the Struggle with Militant Islam, reports from Pakistan for Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal.

Guests:
Zahid Hussain, Journalist, Wall Street Journal and London Times

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