MOSCOW (AP) — As Russian President Vladimir Putin marks two decades in power, he boasts about his achievements but remains coy about his political future — a reticence that fuels wild speculation about his intentions.
Putin points to the revival of Russia's global clout, industrial modernization, booming agricultural exports and a resurgent military as key results of his tenure that began on Dec. 31, 1999. On that day, Russia's first President Boris Yeltsin abruptly stepped down and named the former KGB officer his successor, paving the way for his election three months later.
Critics accuse Putin of rolling back post-Soviet freedoms to establish tight control over the political scene, marginalize the opposition and stifle critical media. They