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Russia's aggressive foreign policy is backed by Putin's domestic popularity ratings and his strong grip on Russia's political system. But in reality, how firmly does Putin control Russian politics? Can the ongoing economic crisis in Russia pose challenges to his system and the upcoming federal elections of 2016-2018? What impact will Russian domestic politics play in Russia's international behavior?
Vladimir Milov is a Russian opposition politician, publicist, economist & energy expert. He was the Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia (2002), adviser to the Minister of Energy (2001-2002), and head of strategy department at the Federal Energy Commission, the natural monopoly regulator (1999-2001). Milov is the author of major energy reform concepts, including the concept of market restructuring and unbundling of Gazprom, which was banned from implementation by President Vladimir Putin. He is the founder and president of the Institute of Energy Policy, a leading independent Russian energy policy think tank (since 2003). Milov is a columnist of major Russian political and business publications, including Forbes Russia, and a frequent commentator on Russian political and economic affairs in major Western media outlets (The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, etc.). Since leaving the Russian Government in 2002, Milov has became a vocal public critic of Vladimir Putin’s dirigiste and authoritarian course. Milov is also active in the Russian opposition politics, serving as Chairman of the “Democratic Choice” opposition party (www.en.demvybor.ru), and is also known as co-author of the critical public report on Vladimir Putin’s Presidential legacy called “Putin. The Results”, written together with Boris Nemtsov (several editions published since 2008).