Even though the recent Russian presidential campaign was tarnished by numerous irregularities, Vladimir Putin's crushing victory reflects an uncomfortable reality: the majority of Russians sincerely support their leader. Putin has been able to tell his fellow citizens, who were plunged into doubt after the USSR fell apart in 1991 and throughout the painful Yeltsin decade, what they want to hear. Russia, he proclaimed, is back! And Russia aims to regain its legitimate stature as a leader among nations! Russia has no reason to be ashamed of its past, and it certainly does not need to be preached to by a weak and decadent West! This muscular stance put a new chill into relations between Moscow and the West, and a thaw can only be expected once the Russian people themselves have rejected the maximalist message of their leader. But the population, hammered by intense propaganda, does not appear at all ready to question the vision of the world embodied by the master of the Kremlin.