European leaders remain guarded in their response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's re-election on Monday to a new six-year term of office. They are respecting protocol by formally congratulating Mr Putin on his crushing electoral victory, but often do so in markedly subdued terms.
However, there is no question that political developments in Russia are watched with greater interest today than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than a quarter of a century ago. And there is an expectation that with elections now out of the way, Mr Putin will provide an early indication as to how he sees the eventual transfer of power to a younger generation.
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