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The czars of Russia's past were viewed by the Russian people as larger than life. It was expected that the czar could do no wrong and were there to meet the needs of the people. Vladimir Putin relishes in embodying this image. He is a master propagandist who has been photographed wrestling bears and riding horseback. Along with this image, he operates within Russia's government unabashed by his actions. It is not uncommon for Putin to seize private businesses and assets. Putin's decisions are unchecked by other factions in the government. He does not have a political rival that could legitimately unseat him in the foreseeable future, and pundits speculate that he will rule Russia until he dies.
People in Russia are afraid to speak out against Putin. That is not to say that he is not well liked, but there tends to be little discourse about his actions. Citizens that oppose Putin routinely end up in jail. Russian citizens that could actually make a difference in getting Putin out of office are also those with the most to lose. For this reason, many stay silent.
Putin also runs his government in secrecy. The concept of sunshine law is quite foreign to this former KGB member. Putin tells the news what he wants the Russians to know, and not what is actually happening. In this way, he gains the support of his citizens.
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